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Something in the Ether: a Bicentennial History of Massachusetts General Hospital, 1811-2011

Event Details

Something in the Ether: a Bicentennial History of Massachusetts General Hospital, 1811-2011

Time: September 15, 2011 from 7:30pm to 9:30pm
Location: Charlestown Branch Library
Street: 179 Main Street
City/Town: Charlestown
Website or Map: http://www.bpl.org/branches/c…
Phone: 617-242-1248
Event Type: book, release, party
Organized By: Mary Curtin
Latest Activity: Sep 6, 2011

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Event Description

The Friends of the Charlestown Branch Library presents Something in the Ether: a Bicentennial History of Massachusetts General Hospital, 1811-2011 with co-author Webster Bull. Free and open to everyone, with a book signing (book discount for attendees) and reception following.

A newly published history of Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) – commissioned to mark the hospital’s 200th anniversary – is not only a comprehensive narrative about the evolution of an institution but an examination of the changing face of medicine in American society.

Something in the Ether: A Bicentennial History of Massachusetts General Hospital, 1811-2011, by Webster Bull and Martha Bull, adds fresh insight to often-told tales about MGH (such as the first use of anesthesia in surgeries) as well as new information about its internal struggles and medical milestones. The 527-page hardcover volume captures the spirit of the nation’s third oldest general hospital as conveyed through work of some of the most captivating, colorful and inspiring characters in health care, past and present.

Something in the Ether begins with the vision of two prominent Boston physicians who in the early 1800s understood the need for a place where the poor could find care and comfort. The eight chapters carry readers through two centuries of medical progress, institutional decisions, changes in practice and powerful and influential personalities.

This is not your traditional chronological hospital history, says Peter L. Slavin, MD, MGH president. “I think readers will find Something in the Ether to be a lively and engaging story,” he says. “It describes the building and changing of the MGH, but it also offers a glimpse of medical progress, the changing community, world events and the society’s values through the lens of an academic medical center.”

In 2007, MGH commissioned Bull to write a book in conjunction with the hospital’s bicentennial in 2011. Bull enlisted his daughter, Martha Bull, and together they have backfilled the centuries with anecdotes gleaned from extensive research through archival records, hospital reports and publications as well as interviews with more than 100 MGH individuals – physicians, nurses, administrators, volunteers, donors and trustees. The book also includes more than 200 historic and current photographs.

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