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Lucy Baldwin anaesthetic apparatus, London, England, 1955-1980

Lucy Baldwin (1869–1945) was the wife of British Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin (1867–1947), who in 1929 set up the Anaesthetics Fund to provide all women who were giving birth with pain relief. Before this time, only wealthy mothers could afford it. The apparatus uses a mixture of oxygen and nitrous oxide, inhaled through a mouthpiece. Midwives could only use the machine without the presence of a doctor if the concentration of nitrous oxide delivered was below fifty per cent. Originally owned by University College Hospital, London, the apparatus was made by The British Oxygen Co Ltd.

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    Glossary: anaesthetic machine

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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).