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Crawford Long (USA)

The Stamp

This stamp was issued in the United States of America from 1940. The face value is 2 cents. It is printed in rose carmine and was first issued in Jefferson GA on 8 April 1940. It was part of a series of famous Americans chosen by the public.

The initial response to this in 1938 was so great that the number of stamps had to be increased from 10 to 38.

The Doctor

Crawford Williamson Long was born on 1 November 1815, in Danielsville GA, the son of a senator, merchant, and planter. He was the first doctor to give an ether anaesthetic.

Long studied at the University of Georgia in Athens, Transylvania College in Lexington KY and the University of Pennsylvania, where he graduated with his MD in 1839. He then worked as a junior doctor in New York City before establishing a medical practice in Jefferson GA.

Crawford married, fathered 12 children and set up medical practice with his brother. He joined a militia unit during the Civil War although he did not fight, but he did care for soldiers from both sides. Long died on 16 June 1878, shortly after delivering a baby.

Urology Connections

On 30 March 1842, Long removed a tumour from the neck of James M Venable. Long gave him an ether anaesthetic by placing an ether-soaked towel over his face; it helped, so he continued to use it over the next few years.

Long, however, did not immediately publish his findings, although he told others. When others claimed priority, Long then began collecting patient accounts and petitioned Congress to give him credit for being the first doctor to use ether.

Although he never got that credit in his lifetime, "Doctors’ Day" is now celebrated in the USA on 30 March, to celebrate his first anaesthetic.

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