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'ESO' chloroform apparatus, Oxford, England, 1945

During the Second World War, very large amounts of medical and surgical equipment, including anaesthetic equipment needed by Allied troops, had to be transported to the battlefield. Developed at Nuffield Department of Anaesthetics at Oxford University, the ESO (Epstein Suffolk Oxford) machine was designed to be able to withstand a parachute drop. Once set up, a patient was anaesthetised when chloroform vapours were inhaled through a mouthpiece. The machine was developed by Hans G Epstein (b. 1909) and S F Suffolk in 1942 and made by Longworth Scientific Instrument Co.

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    Glossary: anaesthetic

    An agent that causes insensitivity to pain. Applied to either the whole body (general anaesthetic) or a particular area or region (local anaesthetic).

    Glossary: inhaler

    A device for breathing in a drug in order to deliver it to the airways or lungs.

    Glossary: chloroform

    A liquid formerly used as a general anaesthetic although no longer used for this purpose as it causes liver damage and affects the heart rate. It is now used in low concentration to treat flatulence.