Plants - Drugs Mind - Spirit Freedom - Law Arts - Culture Library  
Erowid References Database
Halsted WS. 
“Practical Comments on the Use and Abuse of Cocaine; Suggested by its invariably successful employment in more than a thousand minor surgical operations”. 
N.Y. Medical Journal. 1885 Sep 12;p294-295.
Neither indifferent as to which of how many possibilities may best explain, nor yet at a loss to comprehend, why surgeons have, and that so many, quite without discredit, could have exhibited scarcely any interest in what, as a local anaesthetic, had been supposed, if not declared, by most so very sure to prove, especially to them, attractive, still I do not think that this circumstance, or some sense of obligation to rescue fragmentary reputation for surgeons rather than the belief that an opportunity existed for assisting others to an appreciable extent, induced me, several months ago, to write on the subject in hand the greater part of a somewhat comprehensive paper, which poor health disinclined me to complete.

Comments and Responses to this Article
Status: display
Jul 8, 2013 12:04
Founder of Johns Hopkins Department of Surgery #

Halsted founded the department of surgery at Johns Hopkins and was considered the finest technical surgeon of his day). Multiple commentator have noted that it appears that Halsted was high on cocaine while he wrote it. You be the judge!

The New York Times wrote about Halsted's cocaine use in 2011.

"As Markel shows, the addiction of Freud’s contemporary William Halsted played out very differently. Halsted was a consummately brilliant and flashy surgeon who had captained the Yale football team and then gone on to medical training in New York, where he soon established a reputation not only for his operative skills and speed but for the outgoing personality that distinguished him as a bon vivant and hail-fellow-well-met.

[...] After several failed attempts to break his habit, including two long hospitalizations, Halsted was invited in 1888 to do laboratory research at the newly established Johns Hopkins Hospital, where his talents brought him an appointment two years later as chief of surgery. [...]

Decades after Halsted’s death in 1922, it emerged that he never did break his addiction, though it appears to have been at least partially transferred to morphine, which he used until the end of his life. Markel describes the “remarkably high-performing addict” rushing home most afternoons to administer his dose: “He took out his own morocco case containing a syringe and a soothing dose of morphine. Ever the measured surgeon, he worked hard to calibrate his dosage to calm his jitters and angst but not cloud his senses or interfere with his medical judgment; on not a few occasions, however, he miscalculated and sailed off to narcotized oblivion, abandoning his responsibilities."

Nuland S. "Sigmund Freud’s Cocaine Years". July 21, 2011.
Submit Comment
[ Cite HTML ]