The Experiments on Electrical Anesthesia in Italy in the Second Half of the Nineteenth Century. A Dispute Between a Fearless Surgeon Patriot and a Positivist Researcher

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Abstract

Electric anesthesia is the anesthesia, usually general anesthesia, produced by the application of an electrical current. This fascinating issue of the anesthesia history was made possible thanks to the pioneering experiments on electrotherapy and electrophysiology performed by two researchers: the neurologist Guillaume Duchenne (1806-1875) and the biologist Stéphane Leduc (1853-1939). The aim of this study is the review of the dispute between two Italian scientists on the effectiveness of electric anesthesia in the second half of the 19th century. One of the two contenders was Rodolfo Rodolfi (1827-1896), an Italian surgeon and patriot who took part in the First Italian War of Independence of 1848, whereas the other protagonist of the dispute was the positivist Plinio Schivardi (1833-1908), a pupil of Duchenne who brought to Italy his knowledge of electrotherapy, collecting these experiences in the Theoretical Practical Manual of Electrotherapy, the first book on the subject written in Italian.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)122-126
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Anesthesia History
Volume1
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1 2015

Keywords

  • Electrical anesthesia
  • Electronarcosis
  • Electrotherapy
  • Positivism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine
  • History and Philosophy of Science

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