Out of Our Comfort Zone: Pain Relief During War and Emergencies


Pain Relief in War & Emergencies


Flagg Can

Flagg Can

The Flagg can is a very simple ether vaporiser, and could be made out of a tin can. Vapour strength could be controlled by varying the air entry. It was invented in 1916 and was used in both the First World War and the Spanish Civil War.


Sodium Thiopentone

Sodium Thiopentone 2

Sodium Thiopentone (Pentothal)

This drug was discovered in the early 1930s by two scientists at Abbott Laboratories. It is a rapid onset, short acting anaesthetic and was manufactured by Abbott until 2004. It was used in World War Two to treat people injured in the Pearl Harbour attack, and has subsequently been used as a truth serum.




The Triservice Apparatus

This apparatus was designed by Brigadier Ivan Houghton in 1981 as a development of the Oxford miniature vaporiser. It is designed to be portable and robust enough to be parachuted to ground troops. It does not require any extra equipment and is simple to put together. The triservice was the only anaesthetic apparatus used on land in the Falklands War, and has been used by the military and in major disasters.

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