Thursday, February 9, 2017

Ether Monument / Good Samaritan

This 40-foot-tall monument in the Public Garden near the corner of Beacon Street and Arlington Street commemorates not a person, but a medical breakthrough: the use of ether as an anesthetic. The first public demonstration of ether anesthesia was conducted at Massachusetts General Hospital in 1846 by Boston dentist William T.G. Morton and Doctor John Collins Warren. Morton administered the ether, and Warren then removed a tumor from an unconscious patient. Ether had enormous benefits, allowing doctors to work more closely and carefully, and giving patients a respite not only from pain, but also from the anxiety associated with surgery. Atop the monument, two figures sculpted by John Quincy Adams Ward enact a Biblical story about the relief of suffering. The Good Samaritan is shown caring for an injured stranger he met on the road.

Description from Boston Arts Commission

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