Since the discovery that various chemical products have the power to produce unconsciousness or to allay the pangs of pain, a vast amount of agony and misery has been prevented. Debaters may well argue as to whether or not these innovations have done more for the human race than was accomplished by the development of our knowledge of bacteria and of asepsis. However, the search for the relief from pain is not perhaps so nearly complete as the results accomplished in the search for relief from infection. Pharmacologists, physiologists and surgeons still devise preparations with special virtues and new methods of use for the preparations now available. Greater safety, greater relief, and, perhaps above all, greater duration of relief under various circumstances, are the chief objectives.
For almost fifteen years, the method of Gwathmey, involving the rectal administration of ether and oil for anesthesia, has been before the profession. More