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Simpson, Sir James

Simpson, Sir James (1811–70). Anaesthetic pioneer. Youngest son of a Scottish village baker, Simpson entered Edinburgh University in 1825, to graduate MD (1832) and proceed rapidly to the chair of midwifery (1839). Excited by the new use of sulphuric ether as an anaesthetic agent, but concerned to find a substance more manageable and effective, he self-experimented with other volatile fluids before settling on chloroform (1847). Despite its rapid popularity, his advocacy for its use in natural childbirth as well as surgical intervention led to intense criticism from moralists and theologians until Queen Victoria's delighted approbation after the delivery of her ninth child (1853). A baronetcy was bestowed in 1866. Always in a hurry, but with foresight and an intensely critical mind, Simpson's contributions to obstetric science and foundation of gynaecology considerably improved their credibility, while his wider interests included hospital infection and design, acupressure, and archaeology.

A. S. Hargreaves

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"Simpson, Sir James." The Oxford Companion to British History. . Encyclopedia.com. 22 Jun. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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"Simpson, Sir James." The Oxford Companion to British History. . Retrieved June 22, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/simpson-sir-james

Simpson, Sir James Young

Sir James Young Simpson, 1811–70, Scottish physician, M.D. Univ. of Edinburgh, 1832. He became (1839) professor of medicine and midwifery at Edinburgh. For a while he employed ether anesthesia in childbirth, but soon abandoned its use in favor of chloroform, which he introduced as an anesthetic in 1847. Eminent as an obstetrician, he was also known as an archaeologist.

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"Simpson, Sir James Young." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. 22 Jun. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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"Simpson, Sir James Young." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved June 22, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/simpson-sir-james-young