DR. WILLIAM STEWART HALSTED’S UNFORTUNATE CASE OF ADDICTION
- February 24, 2019
To understand the significance of our modern medical practices, all you have to do is look at the accomplishments of Dr. William Stewart Halsted. Considered a true Renaissance man during his lifetime, Halsted improved the fundamentals for training surgeons in America and performed some of the earliest biliary tract procedures (e.g. the plate and buried screw technique used to mend bones). Overall, his work with modern surgery and his devotion to the unique problems presented by patients set him apart from the callous doctors of his time. Dr. Halsted also made incredible breakthroughs in the studies of anesthesia, although his work with these drugs would eventually lead to a downward spiral. Let’s take a closer look and find out more information about Dr. William Halsted’s unfortunate case of addiction.
In 1884 (during the fall), Dr. Halsted read a scientific article proposing the effectiveness of a cocaine solution as an anesthetic (once injected into the cornea and conjunctiva of a patient). Inspired by these proposals, Dr. Halsted and his colleagues began to test the potential for cocaine anesthesia and made an astonishing discovery: cocaine could, in fact, numb nearly every single peripheral nerve prior to a surgical procedure.
After conducting the experiments on themselves, though, Halsted’s team suffered tragic consequences. In the end, Halsted and one other researcher survived the tests. Later, he would enroll in a rehabilitation facility in 1886, where doctors substituted morphine for the cocaine.
Severe Case of Addiction
In the end, though, his dangerous journey through drug addiction had only begun. During the rehabilitation program, Halsted became hooked on morphine (a deadly opioid) and remained attached to cocaine. As a result, he would continue to suffer from addiction to both drugs for a staggering 40 years. At sporadic times, he would disappear from his office and reappear in a drug-induced state. Sometimes, Dr. Halsted would suffer from withdrawal in his practice and would leave his assistants to finish the surgeries.
Seeking Treatment for Drug Abuse or Addiction
Throughout history, many incredible people have unintentionally fallen victim to addiction and have struggled to cope with the scars for their entire lives. In many cases, long-term drug use can lead to a tragic downward spiral, which (in the worst-case scenario) can often result in the untimely death of the victim. However, the good news is that you can find a way to make sure you do not lose your life to drugs. With the right mixture of perseverance and determination, you can find a way to overcome your addiction problems and become a healthier person.
If you, a friend, or a loved one are suffering from a severe case of drug abuse or addiction, get in touch with Asana Recovery today. Our professional team of counselors and healthcare experts will help you endure the painful process of withdrawal and detox and guide you along the rocky road of rehabilitation. Soon enough, you will experience a faster and much more efficient recovery.
If you want to find out more about our residential treatment or supervised detoxification/withdrawal programs or enroll in one of these programs today, we are ready and waiting to speak with you at your leisure and your disclosure. Call Asana now at (949) 438-4504 to learn how you can overcome your mental illness and take an extra step toward becoming a healthier person.