William Thomas Green Morton

William Thomas Green Morton

Birth
Charlton City, Worcester County, Massachusetts, USA
Death 15 Jul 1868 (aged 48)
New York, New York County (Manhattan), New York, USA
Burial Cambridge, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, USA
Plot Spruce Avenue, Lot 3940
Memorial ID 1759 · View Source
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Medical Pioneer. Born in Charlton City, Massachusetts, he was educated as a dentist and began his practice in Farmington, Connecticut, in 1842. At his dental practice he began to concentrate on manufacturing and fitting artificial teeth, work which led him to consider using anesthesia. On September 1, 1846, in a demonstration attended by witnesses, he with his professor friend Charles T. Jackson, put a patient to sleep by what he called letheon and painlessly extracted an infected tooth. The success of this operation was reported in the newspapers attracting wide attention, particularly among Boston doctors, who were interested in the use of surgery. Then the French Academy of Medicine awarded Jackson and Morton a joint prize of 5,000 francs, but Morton turned it down on the grounds that the discovery rightfully belonged to him alone. In 1849, he petitioned the US Congress for a reward for the discovery of anesthesia, with two bills advocating the payment of $100,000 to Morton. However, lengthy debates took place between the other medical parties left the issue deadlocked. Morton's legal expenses and the neglect of his practice in the pursuit of his discovery reduced him to poverty in his later years. He died at the age of 48 in New York City and the debate over who should deserve credit for the discovery still goes on with Morton chiefly receiving scientific credit.

Bio by: John "J-Cat" Griffith


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 31 Dec 2000
  • Find A Grave Memorial 1759
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for William Thomas Green Morton (9 Aug 1819–15 Jul 1868), Find A Grave Memorial no. 1759, citing Mount Auburn Cemetery, Cambridge, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .