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Dr. Evan O’Neil Kane was the chief surgeon at Kane Summit Hospital in New York City. He was 60 years old and had been practicing surgery for 37 years. He was especially interested in anesthetic. You see, he practiced back in the early part of the 20th century, when the only kind of anesthetic used was general in nature—and it had its complications. Patients were sometimes left paralyzed and on occasion, they died. Dr. Kane wanted to somehow prove his point by finding a guinea pig and try using local anesthetic. Finally he did discover a person who was willing to help him experiment. The patient needed his appendix removed, so he was scheduled for surgery. It was February 15, 1921, a Tuesday morning. The patient was prepared and rolled into the operating room. Kane had performed over 4,000 appendectomies. He performed the initial cut. He clamped the blood vessels on the way in while he located the appendix. He then skillfully removed it as he had done many times before. Through it all the patient experienced minor pain, recuperated quickly and was released from the hospital two days later.

Dr, Kane had proved his point. It...

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