A Review on John Snow’s (1813-1858 CE) Contributions to the Epidemiology and Anesthesiology

Samad EJ Golzari, Zahid Hussain Khan, Ali Dabbagh, Hadiseh Kavandi, Ata Mahmoodpoor, Babak Sabermarouf, Hassan Soleimanpour, Kazem Khodadoust, Behnam Dalfardi, Mojtaba Heydari, Kamyar Ghabili

Abstract


“In riding his hobby very hard, he has fallen down through a gully hole and has never since been able to get out again”

“Has he any facts to show in proof? No!”*

* From an Editorial on John Snow’s theories published in the Lancet in 1855

 

Biography

John Snow, the famous physician, epidemiologist and anesthetist, was born on March 15th, 1813 in York, England (Image 1). He was the eldest of nine children born to William and Frances Snow in their North Street home. His first 12 years of life were spent in a poor and unsanitary area in Michaelgate. River Ouse, which provided the drinking water for the people and often contaminated with excreta, was in the vicinity of his home. This exposed him and his family to the danger of flooding and contamination with excrements of drinking water (1).

After financial status of his father improved, they moved to a more wholesome area which was appropriate for the children's education. When he was 14, he was apprenticed to William Hardcastle, a surgeon in Newcastle upon Tyne School of Medicine. Later, he attended in lectures and visited the different wards of the local infirmary (2).

His apprenticeship was finished in 1833. Between 1833 and 1836 Snow worked as an assistant to a colliery surgeon. He returned to London after completing his education to get a London degree and became a student in the Royal College of Surgeons and began working at the Westminster Hospital. Snow finished his education in 1844. Then he was elected as the chancellor of the London Medical Society. Snow suffered a stroke while working in his London office on June 10th, 1858. He was 45 years old at the time. This valuable and memorable researcher and scientist died in London on June 16th, 1858 aged 45 years from a stroke. He was buried in Brompton Cemetery (3). Many books, papers, and letters to journals on various topics such as rickets, chest deformities, the circulation of the blood, lead poisoning, and scarlet fever have been written by Snow during his short life (4).


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