Installed in 1868, the Ether Monument is the oldest monument in the Boston Public Garden. This 40-foot tall memorial commemorates a medical breakthrough: the use of ether as an anesthetic, a pivotal moment in medical history. The first public demonstration of ether anesthesia was conducted at Massachusetts General Hospital in 1846 by Boston dentist William Thomas Green Morton and Dr. John Collins Warren. Morton administered the ether, and Warren then removed a tumor from an unconscious patient. Well known to the anesthesiology community, ether had enormous benefits, allowing doctors to work more closely and carefully, and gave patients a respite not only from pain but also from the anxiety associated with surgery. Atop the Ether Monument, two figures sculpted by John Quincy Adams Ward enact a famous Biblical story about the relief of suffering: the Good Samaritan caring for...

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