"We have spirits of ether. You wont need the whiskey."
Re-enactment of the demonstration of ether anesthesia by W.T.G. Morton on October 16, 1846
Public DomainRe-enactment of the demonstration of ether anesthesia by W.T.G. Morton on October 16, 1846 - Credit: Southworth & Hawes

The first physician to use diethyl ether as an anesthetic was Crawford Williamson Long, who administered it on 30 March 1842 during a surgical procedure to remove a tumour from a patient in Georgia. Although Long subsequently used it on multiple occasions afterward, he did not publish anything regarding the trials until 1849. William T.G. Morton participated in a public demonstration of ether anesthesia on October 16, 1846 at the Ether Dome in Boston, Massachusetts. Because of its associations with Boston, the use of ether became known as the ‘Yankee Dodge’.

Today, ether is rarely used, mainly due to its many undesirable side effects, such as post-anesthetic nausea and vomiting.