National Doctors’ Day was celebrated on March 30 in honor of the day Dr. Crawford W. Long performed the first painless surgery in Jefferson using sulphuric ether.
In the 1840s, nitrous oxide and ether were commonly used in parties, called ‘frolics.’ It was during these parties that Dr. Long discovered that those under the influence of ether felt no pain when injured.
On March 30, 1842, Dr. Long performed what is considered the first surgery aided by anesthesia. Ninety-one years later, in 1933, the first Doctors’ Day observance was held in Barrow County due to the efforts of Eudora Brown Almond, a local physician’s wife. Almond presented her medical auxiliary with the idea of setting aside a special day to honor Doctors of Medicine; and the auxiliary adopted a resolution designating the day of March 30 each year as Doctors’ Day in honor of the date the famous Jefferson resident, Dr. Crawford W. Long, first used ether as anesthesia.
As part of its National Doctors’ Day celebration, Crawford W. Long Museum staff and volunteers have prepared and presented local physicians with red carnations in the past. Personal deliveries were unable to happen this year due to pandemic restrictions in medical offices. Instead, the staff placed yard signs in front of local medical providers’ offices.
“Doctors’ Day and Dr. Long’s legacy serve as reminders of the debt society owes its physicians,” said Vicki Starnes, Crawford Long Museum director. “Their contributions and sacrifices are often overlooked in today’s tumultuous healthcare environment, especially during this time of the pandemic we wish to recognize and thank them.”
The museum also teamed with Piedmont Athens Regional to place a memorial wreath on the Long Monument in downtown Jefferson on Tuesday, March 30.
"We are honored to help recognize each and every physician for the contributions they make to our community," said Tricia Massey, business development specialist with the hospital. "Not only do they keep us safe and healthy but also for the many sacrifices they make. Piedmont Athens Regional is proud to show support to all doctors on National Doctors’ Day with the team at Crawford W. Long Museum."
Although Doctors’ Day was initiated in the State of Georgia, since President George Bush’s proclamation in 1991, this day is now observed annually as National Doctors’ Day.
To learn more about Dr. Crawford W. Long, visit the museum’s site at www.crawfordlong.org.