Tuesday, January 1, 2013 | By: rudi butt

Dr. William Aurelius Harland And The First Application Of Chloroform Anaesthesia

Updated (partial) on January 1, 2013

Notable Doctors From the First 100 Years
A Biography of

William Aurelius Harland
MD and natural scientist, performed Hong Kong's first practice chloroform anaesthesia

b. 1822 Scarborough – d. September 12, 1858 Hong Kong; University of Edinburgh; came to Hong Kong in 1846 to escape from an unwise marriage (to a servant girl); learned the Chinese language, studied Chinese medicine, collected scientific specimens and worked as a surgeon at the Seamen’s Hospital; performed the first surgical operation in Hong Kong with the use of chloroform (March 8, 1848), the news of which was reported with a great novelty; CMCS Secretary; Colonial Surgeon June 14, 1858 succeeding James Carroll Dempster , Harland himself died within a few months (1858) of taking up the office of Colonial Surgeon (in the colony’s first decade three of its four Colonial Surgeon died in office, it must had been a dangerous profession.); his memorial is in the Hong Kong Cemetery that reads: "Admired for his scientific enquiries, Trusted for his abilities as a physician, and Loved for his qualities as a man"; his brother was Edward Harland, shipbuilder of Belfast, whose company built the Titanic; their father, William, patented a steam road car in 1827, and his work was used in the first steam train, the Rocket, built by his friend George Stephenson; publications: "Records of Washing away of Injuries" (1855), which was an English translation of "The Collected Cases of Injustice Rectified 洗冤集錄 (click to view the full text in Chinese)" also known as "Washing Away of Wrongs", a book on forensic science written by Song Ci 宋慈 in 1247 and is probably the world’s first comprehensive writing about forensic anthropology; a friend of Karl Gutzlaff, a Prussian missionary who aided the proliferation of opium in China; died of malarial fever.

The Hong Kong Government Gazette, June 19, 1858, Notice #55.


Anonymous said...

After seeing the tv series of Mr. Song Ci. I become interest of his book that have translated into english. I want to read more. If we can learn something outer than our normal life. I think it would be interesting.

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