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James Young Simpson was born 6/7/1811, at Bathgate, Scotland, the youngest of 7 sons David & Mary (Jervay) Simpson.  Mary was of direct Huguenot stock which fleed to Scotland after the revocation of the Edict of Nantes. David was the village baker & James was apprenticed to him but with a scholarship & the help of an older brother he entered the University of Edinburgh at 14. He graduated from the University of Scotland and became a medical doctor. 

 

Simpson discovered of using chloroform (trying it on himself first) as an anesthetic (11/15/1847 being the first public demonstration). He also is said to have “made great improvements” in gynecological procedures.  He was appointed physician to the Queen (in Scotland) & introduced the village (or pavilion) hospitals in Scotland. 12/26/1839 married Jessie Grindlay (a 2nd cousin). Their union was blessed with 9 children. When he died (5/6/1870) some 1700 (colleagues in medicine & public figures) came to his funeral.  The family turned down burial in Westminster but a bust of him is there. 

 

James Simpson was a member of the Scottish Free Church. On an occasion he was with some scientists.  One asked Doctor Simpson what was his greatest discovery.  His answer, with little doubt was not what they expected but true nonetheless.  He replied, “That I was a sinner and Jesus died for me.”     

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