Happy Doctors Day 2005 to you! It is being held today across the United States. The American Society of Anesthesiologists explains the origins of this holiday:
As the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) reflects on the accomplishments and advances in the medical specialty of anesthesiology during its Centennial year, a special date with dual significance also is celebrated — March 30, or Doctors Day.
Doctors Day marks the date that Crawford W. Long, M.D., of Jefferson, GA, administered the first ether anesthetic for surgery on March 30, 1842. On that day, Dr. Long administered ether anesthesia to James Venable and then operated to remove a tumor from the man’s neck.
In the beginning, Doctors Day, which was first observed in 1933, was celebrated by mailing cards to physicians and their spouses and by placing flowers on the graves of deceased physicians. It has now evolved into a collective celebration that is a national day of observance.
ASA celebrates Doctors Day by encouraging anesthesiologists to talk about how they provide medical care to patients before, during and after surgery and the efforts that have been made over the years to improve patient safety. These efforts include more advanced education and training, new technological breakthroughs in monitoring patients during surgery, better pain-relieving medications, ongoing medical research and development of practice standards.
Surgical procedures that could not have been done many years ago for patients such as young children, the elderly and people in poor overall physical health are routine today.
To read more about the history of anesthesia see this post.