Famous Scots
- Sir James Y Simpson (1811-1870)

Simpson was born in Bathgate, the seventh son of a baker and went to Edinburgh University at the age of 14. He specialised in obstetrics and became Professor of Midwifery at the University.

After experimenting with chloroform on himself and his friends, he started to use it to as an anaesthetic to ease the pain of childbirth. He was not the first to use chloroform but it was his persistent advocacy which led to its acceptance.

He was initially opposed by both the medical and religious establishment but after Queen Victoria used it during the birth of Prince Leopold in 1853, it gained wide acceptance. He became the first person to be knighted for services to medicine in 1866.

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