Event and Gallery Opening! From Ether to Epidural by Jacqueline Wolf

IMG_5115Anesthesia: it calls to mind surgeries, treatment of shock–the rendering of a patient unconscious and free (temporarily) from pain.  But anesthesia has played an enormous role in the shifting ideas surrounding labor and birth in America generally–and right here in Cleveland. It’s more than a knock-out; it’s an ever-changing history!

On Thursday, November 19th at 6:00pm, Dittrick will share this fascinating story through a gallery opening (Childbirth in America, 1840-1940) and a talk by celebrated author and historian Jacqueline Wolf. Reproduction, birth, and women’s health in the 19th century shaped the way we practice obstetrics today. One of the biggest changes since then has been the use of obstetric anesthesia… From ether and chloroform in the 1890s, to barbiturates and narcotics in the 1950s, to the “natural” childbirth movement of the 1970s, each generation of American women has faced a very different birth experience! In this opening lecture, Jackie Wolf will explain how and why women’s obstetrician’s views of labor pain and its appropriate treatment changed over time. Dr. Wolf has explored this topic in her evocative Deliver me from Pain (2009), and will share her more recent insights.

IMG_5116The lecture is free, the gallery will be open late, and a reception will be provided in the museum space itself. We hope you will join us for the opening–to see the new permanent exhibit and the birth-chair platform (a generous gift from the Cleveland Medical Library Association), and to hear from a leading researcher in the field!

Exhibit: Childbirth in America 1840-1940, curated by Catherine Osborn in collaboration with Jim Edmonson and Anna Claspy.

Talk: Ether to Epidural: Obstetric Anesthesia in Historic, Medical, and Social Context, Jacqueline Wolf, PhD

Location: Dittrick Medical History Center and Museum, 3rd floor Allen Memorial Medical Library.

RSVP: Jennifer Nieves at 216-368-3648 or email jks4@case.edu

Published by

Brandy Schillace

Historian and author Brandy Schillace, PhD, is Editor for Medhum Fiction | Daily Dose, Research Associate and Public Engagement at the Dittrick Medical History Center and Museum, as well as Managing Editor of the medical anthropology journal Culture, Medicine and Psychiatry.

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