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Emery A. Rovenstine and Regional Anesthesia
  1. Douglas R. Bacon, M.D., M.A.* and
  2. Hussain Darwish, M.D.
  1. Department of Anesthesiology, State University of New York at Buffalo
  2. *Anesthesiology Service, Veteran's Affairs Healthcare System of Western New York, Buffalo Division, Buffalo, New York
  1. Reprint requests: Douglas R. Bacon, M.D., M.A., Chief, Anesthesiology Service 128, Veteran's Affairs Western New York Healthcare System, Buffalo Division, 3495 Bailey Avenue, Buffalo, NY 14215-1199.


Background and Objectives Emery Andrew Rovenstine was a dominant figure in anesthesiology in the United States between 1935 and 1960. Among his many contributions to the specialty, his regional anesthesia practice remains less well known. This paper explores Rovenstine's career and his contributions to regional anesthesia.

Methods Original documents studied and classified for this investigation included all of Rovenstine's published papers and the extant documents of the original American Society of Regional Anesthesia. Interviews with several physicians who knew Rovenstine were conducted. Secondary source materials, including biographies of Rovenstine, were perused.

Results Rovenstine made a major contribution to regional anesthesia through patient care, teaching, and political action. Many of his students went on to become leaders in anesthesiology and emphasized regional anesthesia in the second half of the twentieth century.

Conclusions Emery A. Rovenstine did much to popularize regional anesthesia and ensure a rightful place for its techniques within the armamentarium of the anesthesiologist. Keeping alive the traditions of Gaston Labat at Bellevue, Rovenstine's contributions to regional anesthesia on all levels were considerable. Most importantly, he ensured an enduring role for regional anesthesia through the recurring contributions of his pupils.

  • Emery Rovenstine
  • regional anesthesia
  • anesthesiology education

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  • This work was supported in part by a Wood Library-Museum Fellowship.