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William S. Halsted

By Staff @ Sep 1, 2015

William S. Halsted (September 23, 1852 - September 7, 1922)

William S. Halsted M.D. was most famous for being one of the "Big Four" founding professors at John Hopkins Hospital and also developed the residencytraining  system.  He is famous in dental history for being the first person to extract a tooth using local anesthetic. He discovered the anesthetic after reading about cocaine drops being used to numb the eye for surgeries. He injected cocaine into a patient's jaw demonstrating the value of numbing the jaw for tooth extractions and other jaw surgeries. During his investigations, he used himself as a subject to chart zones of anesthesia unknowingly addicting himself to cocaine. To cure his addiction, doctors tried using morphine to counter the effects. He later became dependent on both drugs for the remainder of his life (about 38 years). At Highland Heights Dental, we do not use cocaine as a local anesthetic. So don't ask!