Objective: The aim of this study was to research the pioneering steps for the employment of chloroform in Turkey in comparison with the developments in the West i.e. in the United States and in Europe. The development of anaesthesiology in the West started in the first half of the 19th century. As an anaesthetic substance, ether was first employed in a medical operation by R. Liston in December 1846. But taking into consideration of its bronchially irritant effect, British gynaecologist Dr. J.Y. Simpson preferred to utilize chloroform in obstetrical operations in 1847. The paper aims at shedding light on the earlier steps for modern anaesthesiology in Turkey in that sense.
Methods: The survey used evaluation of archival documents, first hand-original sources such as the annual medical reports of the Medical School, books, official journals, and newspapers of the time, and also secondary sources concerned with the subject.
Results: In view of the findings of the survey, chloroform, as an anaesthetic material, began to be administered surgically in Turkey much earlier than it was already known. It was experienced and used in operations at the surgical clinic of the Imperial School of Medicine at the Capital city, Istanbul in 1848. The Crimean War (1853-1855) induced to the prevalent surgical use of chloroform in Istanbul on the soldiers back from the front. In other words, it was evidenced that surgeons started to make use of this anaesthetic substance in the Ottoman Empire, shortly after it was put into medical practice in Europe.
Conclusion: This study deals with that phenomenal progress of chloroform anaesthesia in the medical history in Turkey during the second half of the 19th century.