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Cecil Gray

Cecil Gray looked imposing, but he was kind; he had an infectious sense of humour, and he saved millions of lives, not to mention making major operations less painful. Professor Cecil Gray, who died January 5th at 95, revolutionised the practice of anaesthesia.

“Before the Second World War major operations in the chest or abdomen required the patient to be given extremely deep anaesthesia, usually with ether.” Muscles did not completely relax, so they had to be cut, leaving unsightly scars, and babies with congenital heart defects died.

After the Second World War, which almost killed Gray, he experimented with using the drug curare, an extremely effective muscle relaxant. With colleagues at the Liverpool School of Medicine, he developed the "Liverpool Method", the basis of modern anaesthetic practice. Later, working with Jackson Rees, he developed keyhole surgery for babies.

Thank you, Professor Gray.