WLM ID: aikd | Catalog Record
Dr. Henry Hill Hickman (1800-1830) was an English physician who conducted experiments using carbon dioxide (CO2) to produce what he called "suspended animation". In 1824, he announced the success of this technique for surgical anesthesia. Four years later he demonstrated his method before the Royal Academy of Medicine in Paris. But his ideas were rejected because of the risk that CO2 might suffocate patients. Hickman's pioneering work was largely ignored for a century.
In 1931, England's Royal Society of Medicine founded the Hickman Medal, which is awarded to individuals for original work of outstanding merit in anesthesia. The honor is given once every three years. This example is the fourth Hickman Medal, awarded to Dr. Ralph M. Waters in 1944. Dr. Waters founded the first academic department of anesthesiology, and his studies of CO2 led the way toward modern closed-circuit anesthesia systems. Closed-circuit anesthesia is produced by continuous rebreathing of a small amount of anesthetic gas in a closed system with an apparatus for adding oxygen and removing carbon dioxide.