Working with equipment

There [at St Vincent’s Hospital Sydney, c. 1953] was one anaesthetic machine […] that nobody wanted. And it was a McKesson. And for some reason nobody wanted to use it and it was a beautiful machine, but it was different. That’s the problem with the McKesson. And it didn’t have the same sort of knobs that all the others did. But if you took the trouble to work it out you could see that you had a knob that determined the gas mixture and then another one that determined flow rate and it actually had a soda lime attachment put on it […]. I was happy to use this device.” (OH, Professor Ross Holland, 16.05.2010.)

Back in those days there were not always enough anaesthetic machines for each operating theatre in a hospital. At private practices it was common until the mid 1980s for anaesthetists to bring their own drugs and equipment. The Harry Daly Museum preserves many old pieces of anaesthetic equipment and illustrates their development. Some of the machines were major advancements and very popular for their times. For example, the Clements vaporiser and suction machines were used in almost every hospital from the 1930s on, and who wouldn’t remember the significantly green coloured Boyle machines in the 1960s–1980s.

Listen to Dr Harry Daly talking about the first use of a Heidbrink machine and cyclopropane in 1936 in New South Wales (OH, 1973/74):

Private practice–bringing your own equipment

Listen to Dr Reg Cammack describing what he had to bring to private practice until the second half of the 1980s (OH, 20.12.11):

Listen to Dr Richard Bailey and his experience in his first week of private practice in the 1960s (OH, 18.01.12):

Monitoring equipment: increasing the safety of anaesthesia

“First type of monitoring […] was a pulse monitor which was an infrared sensor which can tell each pulse arriving at a fingertip, it was either red or less red, and you got a little volt meter and it just caused a flick, so then that flick could be counted. That was the first of the monitors that we came across […].” (OH, Dr Richard Bailey, 18.01.12)

Listen to Dr Reg Cammack (OH, 20.12.12):

Listen to Professor David Gibb and monitoring in the mid 1960s (OH, 10.01.12):

Getting used to new equipment

Listen about how Dr Des O’ Brien experimented with halothane in 1956 (OH, 30.11.12):

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