William Stewart Halsted - surgeon extraordinaire:
a story of 'drugs, gloves and romance'

Spirling LI, Daniels IR.
Pelican Centre, Basingstoke
RG24 9NA, England.
J R Soc Health. 2002 Jun;122(2):122-4.


As a surgeon William S Halsted's most notable contributions were in the development of a technique for radical mastectomy, the repair of inguinal herniae and the advancement of bowel anastomoses. However, he will perhaps be best remembered for his introduction of the use of the surgical glove and his reasons were probably the least scientific of all those given. Developed by the Goodyear Rubber Company, the gaunts were made to protect the hands of his scrub nurse, Caroline Hampton, the future Mrs William S Halsted. Another of Halsted's contributions was the development of topical anaesthesia using cocaine. A consequence of these experiments was the development of addiction to the drug and his later dependence on morphia. The last century has seen a 360 degrees turn in the reasons why we use gloves. Originally designed to protect the theatre staff from corrosive substances, subsequently to protect the patient from contamination by theatre staff, to today where gloves are worn to protect staff from blood-borne infection agents. This article introduces William S Halsted, and his story of romance, drugs and the introduction of gloves to medical care.
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Micro-opioid receptors
Morphine and serotonin
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Is morphine a smart drug?
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Methadone, morphine and heroin
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30 years on morphine: William Stewart Halsted

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BLTC Research
Utopian Surgery?
The Abolitionist Project
The Hedonistic Imperative
The Reproductive Revolution
Critique of Huxley's Brave New World

The Good Drug Guide
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The Responsible Parent's Guide
To Healthy Mood Boosters For All The Family