Snow, John

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Snow, John

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1813-1858

History

John Snow was the oldest of nine children of Francis and William Snow. John Snow was born in 15 March, 1813, in the city of York. At the age of 14, Snow became apprentice to William Hardcastle, a surgeon-apothecary in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne. In 1832, John Snow was one of eight students who enrolled in a newly founded medical school in Newcastle. In 1836, John Snow began his university education at the Hunterian School of Medicine, where he eventually specialized in obstetrical medicine. It was during this time that Snow became responsible for changing the way that bodies were preserved for anatomical dissection by discovering the correlation between students becoming ill and the arsenic vapor in candles used to illuminate the room.

In May 1938, Snow became a member of the Royal College of Surgeons and a licentiate of the Society of Apothecaries in October of that year. He was awarded his MD in 1844, in which he considered respiration and asphyxia as his areas of expertise. It was this time that he developed his interest in anesthesia in midwifery.

Around 1847, Snow developed an inhaler apparatus that allowed for accurate, controlled, and consistent delivery of ether, accounting for temperature changes. It was also during this time that Snow became one of the most accomplished anesthetists in the British Isles. John Snow was most famous for his administration of chloroform upon Queen Victoria during the birth of Prince Leopold, her eight child, and then Princess Beatrice, three years later. This subsequently brought the use of anesthesia during childbirth into the public eye and acceptance.

Snow was the first doctor to discover the cause of the spread of cholera, which Snow attributed to drinking water contaminated by infected matter. He died in June 1858 from a stroke.

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