James Young Simpson

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Simpson, James Young


Born June 7, 1811, in Bathgate, Scotland; died May 6, 1870, in Edinburgh. Scottish surgeon, obstetrician, and gynecologist.

Simpson graduated from the University of Edinburgh in 1832. In 1840 he was appointed to the university’s chair of midwifery. In 1846 he introduced the use of anesthetic ether in obstetric practice, and in 1847 he proposed the use of chloroform as an anesthetic. Simpson developed a method of prophylactic version (1850) and perfected several medical instruments, including the obstetrical forceps.

Simpson was a member and president (from 1847) of the Edinburgh Royal College of Physicians and an honorary member of many scientific societies in Europe and America. A medical center that includes a general hospital and a maternity hospital has been named in honor of Simpson in Edinburgh.


Anaesthesia. Philadelphia, 1849.
Clinical Lectures on Diseases of Women. Philadelphia, 1863.


Aleksandrov, L. P. Pamiati W. Morton’a i J. Simpson’a. Moscow, 1896.
Gordon, H. L. Sir J. Y. Simpson and Chloroform. London, 1897.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Based on historical figures and set in the medical world of 1847 Edinburgh, the book introduced readers to medical student Raven, apprentice to real-life professor of midwifery Dr James Young Simpson.
Surgery became feasible and childbirth bearable (almost) thanks to the invention of anaesthetic - all thanks to dinner parties hosted by James Young Simpson, a professor of midwifery.
The discovery of the anaesthetic properties of ether by an American dentist, William Morton, in 1846, succeeded the following year by the Edinburgh physician James Young Simpson's demonstration of the power of chloroform to alleviate the agony suffered by patients during surgical operations, set the stage for one of the most significant transformations of modern medical science.
The first, William Smellie, was a Scottish man-midwife; the other, Sir James Young Simpson, Professor of Midwifery in Edinburgh, was most famous for discovering the anesthetic properties of chloroform in 1847.
James Young Simpson, who first used an aesthetics in medicine, was from Edinburgh and the city still specialises in softening pain.
The father of anaesthesia, James Young Simpson, was from Edinburgh and the city still specialises in softening pain...
And over there is the home of James Young Simpson, who invented chloroform, and the houses of Adam Smith the architect, the engineer James Watt, the novelist Sir Walter Scott and the philosopher David Hume.
He gives more credit, for example, to James Young Simpson and Alexander Gordon, another Scottish physician.
James Young Simpson who "not only introduced anesthesia to obstetrics but almost single-handedly effected its use" (p.6) is highlighted as well as his opponents.
James Young Simpson, professor of obstetrics (ob-STET-trix), or the care of pregnant women, in Edinburgh, Scotland, didn't agree.
A British obstetrician, James Young Simpson (1811-1870), heard of the American experience with anesthesia (see 1846) and adopted it at once.