The aftermath of the massive earthquake that destroyed the homes of millions of Haitians was broadcast by television networks worldwide. Newscasts focused on citizens pulling victims from the rubble and on volunteer doctors and nurses treating the severely injured in open courtyards because most of the hospitals and clinics were destroyed. With minimal sterile instruments and supplies, these heroic health care workers sometimes had no alternative other than to amputate gangrenous limbs of victims without anesthesia, just as it was done for centuries before Horace Wells and William T.G. Morton discovered general anesthesia. One heart-breaking newscast showed a screaming child being forcibly held down so her severely lacerated leg could be debrided and sutured without any anesthetic. I wish I could have been there with ketamine or sevoflurane to make that child's terror and pain disappear. How terrible it must have...

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