Without anesthesia, surgical operations to save lives or improve our health would not be possible. At one time that was the case, but a medical doctor in Jefferson, Georgia changed all that. Dr. Crawford W. Long used ether to conduct the first painless operation on March 30, 1842. His patient was James Venable who needed a tumor removed from the back of his neck. Susan Deaver, director of the Crawford W. Long Museum describes the properties of ether that made it ideal for the experiment.