WLM ID: aikc | Catalog Record
Dr. Frederic W. Hewitt (1857-1916) introduced the first modern airway in 1908. The mouth and throat easily close during anesthesia because of the relaxation of muscles that normally hold the back of the mouth and throat open, and the jaw forward. Oral-airways are inserted over the tongue to create an air passage from the mouth to the far back of the throat. Numerous modifications and innovations have occurred since 1908 to make modern oral-airways much more effective. These developments have included different shapes, sizes, and materials, such as plastic.
Dr. Hewitt was a physician who specialized in anesthesia, an uncommon choice during his time. He was also an inventor of numerous anesthesia-related devices, a busy researcher, a writer of scholarly articles and popular books on the administration of anesthesia, and an early advocate for minimum education and training requirements for anesthesia providers. He was so highly respected that he was appointed the official Anesthetist to King Edward VII, and later to King George V.