The Doctor who Served God
A relatively unknown American hero, whose accomplishments in medicine revolutionized medical surgery, is a doctor by the name of Crawford W. Long. His achievements stemmed from the belief that his work was a ministry from God. A native of Georgia, this man was selected to represent his state in Statuary Hall in the U.S. Capitol. The inscription on the base of the statue reads:
Crawford W. Long, M.D.
Discoverer of the use of
Sulphuric Ether as an anesthetic in surgery
On March 30, 1842 at
Jefferson, Jackson County,
“My profession is to me a Ministry from God.”
In the modern world of medicine, few have had to experience having a tooth filled, getting a shot, or having surgery without the use of something to deaden the pain. However, such was not always the case.
Surgery “A Horror” Before Anesthesia Invented
The following speech given by Dr. Hugh H. Young is found in the Congressional Record of April 23, 1926. It gives insight into the awful reality of the operating table prior to Dr. Long’s invention of this “blessing to humanity.”
Fourteen-Year-Old Crawford goes to College
Crawford Long was admitted, at the age of fourteen, to Franklin College, now the University of Georgia. He graduated in 1835, second in his class with an A.M. degree, after which he attended medical school at the University of Kentucky. Graduating in 1839 from the University of Pennsylvania, he went to a New York hospital to perfect himself in surgery, remaining there until August, 1841. Long subsequently moved to Jefferson, Georgia, having received the best literary and medical training in the nation. On March30, 1842, he performed his first surgical operation on a patient, utilizing his new invention of anesthesia through the inhalation of sulphuric ether; a few years later establishing practice at Athens, Georgia.2 His life was a fruitful one, lived out in the service of others.
Crawford Long Dies in the Discharge of His Duty
This selfless American son died in the discharge of his duty, on June 16, 1878, at the bedside of a mother who had just given birth to a child. Regaining consciousness for a few moments, his last words were: “How is she?” He then gave instructions for her well-being and breathed his last.3
Senate Chaplain Praises God for
“This Humble Country Doctor”
Following are excerpts from the Congressional unveiling and presentation of the marble statue of Dr. Crawford W. Long by the state of Georgia, on April 23, 1926. Senate Chaplain Sam W. Small gave the following moving prayer, glorifying our God and Father:
Crawford’s” Love and Sympathy for Suffering Humanity”
Another address, this time given by Dr. Frank K. Boland, followed, providing insights into Crawford Long’s “love and sympathy for suffering humanity; his deep power of observation and his supreme courage,” all of which form admirable character traits.
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Congressional Record – U.S. Senate, April 23, 1926. Acceptance speech for the United States by Senator William J. Harris of Georgia, p. 7991.
Crawford Williamson Long – Georgia. Office of the Architect of the Capitol,Washington, D.C.
Congressional Record – U.S. Senate, April 23, 1926. p. 7988.