In a 1924 contribution to Lancet, Dr. F. G. Chandler extolled the value of “Cocaine in Euthanasia,” particularly for patients who were terminal with pulmonary tuberculosis. A dozen years later, British King George V (1865 to 1936, left) was terminally bronchitic, bedridden, and passing repeatedly in and out of consciousness. Shortly after 11 pm on January 20, 1936, the Physician-in-Ordinary to the King administered a pair of lethal doses intravenously, to hasten the struggling monarch’s demise. This regicide was only revealed a half century later in the diary of the euthanizer, Lord Dawson of Penn (1864 to 1945), who penned: “I therefore decided to determine the end and injected (myself) morphia gr. 3/4 and shortly afterwards cocaine gr. 1 into the [King’s] distended jugular vein….” (Copyright © the American Society of Anesthesiologists’ Wood Library-Museum of Anesthesiology.)

In a 1924 contribution to Lancet, Dr. F. G. Chandler extolled the value of “Cocaine in Euthanasia,” particularly for patients who were terminal with pulmonary tuberculosis. A dozen years later, British King George V (1865 to 1936, left) was terminally bronchitic, bedridden, and passing repeatedly in and out of consciousness. Shortly after 11 pm on January 20, 1936, the Physician-in-Ordinary to the King administered a pair of lethal doses intravenously, to hasten the struggling monarch’s demise. This regicide was only revealed a half century later in the diary of the euthanizer, Lord Dawson of Penn (1864 to 1945), who penned: “I therefore decided to determine the end and injected (myself) morphia gr. 3/4 and shortly afterwards cocaine gr. 1 into the [King’s] distended jugular vein….” (Copyright © the American Society of Anesthesiologists’ Wood Library-Museum of Anesthesiology.)

George S. Bause, M.D., M.P.H., Honorary Curator and Laureate of the History of Anesthesia, Wood Library-Museum of Anesthesiology, Schaumburg, Illinois, and Clinical Associate Professor, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio. UJYC@aol.com.