40 Facts About John Snow


John Snow was an English physician and a leader in the development of anaesthesia and medical hygiene.


John Snow is considered one of the founders of modern epidemiology, in part because of his work in tracing the source of a cholera outbreak in Soho, London, in 1854, which he curtailed by removing the handle of a water pump.


John Snow was born on 15 March 1813 in York, England, the first of nine children born to William and Frances John Snow in their North Street home, and was baptised at All Saints' Church, North Street, York.


John Snow's father was a labourer who worked at a local coal yard, by the Ouse, constantly replenished from the Yorkshire coalfield by barges, but later was a farmer in a small village to the north of York.


From a young age, John Snow demonstrated an aptitude for mathematics.


John Snow treated many victims of the disease and thus gained experience.


John Snow was a vegetarian and tried to only drink distilled water that was "pure".


Between 1832 and 1835 John Snow worked as an assistant to a colliery surgeon, first in Burnopfield, County Durham, and then in Pateley Bridge, West Riding of Yorkshire.


John Snow was a founding member of the Epidemiological Society of London which was formed in May 1850 in response to the cholera outbreak of 1849.


John Snow set up his practice at 54 Frith Street in Soho as a surgeon and general practitioner.


John Snow contributed to a wide range of medical concerns including anaesthesiology.


John Snow was a member of the Westminster Medical Society, an organisation dedicated to clinical and scientific demonstrations.


John Snow gained prestige and recognition all the while being able to experiment and pursue many of his scientific ideas.


John Snow was a speaker multiple times at the society's meetings and he wrote and published articles.


John Snow was especially interested in patients with respiratory diseases and tested his hypothesis through animal studies.


In 1857, John Snow made an early and often overlooked contribution to epidemiology in a pamphlet, On the adulteration of bread as a cause of rickets.


John Snow realised that chloroform was much more potent and required more attention and precision when administering it.


John Snow first realised this with Hannah Greener, a 15-year-old patient who died on 28 January 1848 after a surgical procedure that required the cutting of her toenail.


John Snow was administered chloroform by covering her face with a cloth dipped in the substance.


John Snow was one of the first physicians to study and calculate dosages for the use of ether and chloroform as surgical anaesthetics, allowing patients to undergo surgical and obstetric procedures without the distress and pain they would otherwise experience.


John Snow designed the apparatus to safely administer ether to the patients and designed a mask to administer chloroform.


John Snow published an article on ether in 1847 entitled On the Inhalation of the Vapor of Ether.


John Snow would apply the chloroform at the second stage of labour and controlled the amount without completely putting the patients to sleep.


However, on 7 April 1853, Queen Victoria asked John Snow to administer chloroform during the delivery of her eighth child, Leopold.


John Snow then repeated the procedure for the delivery of her daughter Beatrice in 1857.


John Snow was a skeptic of the then-dominant miasma theory that stated that diseases such as cholera and bubonic plague were caused by pollution or a noxious form of "bad air".


The germ theory of disease had not yet been developed, so John Snow did not understand the mechanism by which the disease was transmitted.


John Snow first published his theory in an 1849 essay, On the Mode of Communication of Cholera, followed by a more detailed treatise in 1855 incorporating the results of his investigation of the role of the water supply in the Soho epidemic of 1854.


John Snow later used a dot map to illustrate the cluster of cholera cases around the pump.


John Snow used statistics to illustrate the connection between the quality of the water source and cholera cases.


John Snow showed that homes supplied by the Southwark and Vauxhall Waterworks Company, which was taking water from sewage-polluted sections of the Thames, had a cholera rate fourteen times that of those supplied by Lambeth Waterworks Company, which obtained water from the upriver, cleaner Seething Wells.


John Snow's study was a major event in the history of public health and geography.


John Snow became a vegetarian at the age of 17 and was a teetotaller.


John Snow embraced an ovo-lacto vegetarian diet by supplementing his vegetables with dairy products and eggs.


John Snow continued drinking pure water throughout his adult life.


In 1830, John Snow became a member of the temperance movement.


John Snow lived at 18 Sackville Street, London, from 1852 to his death in 1858.


John Snow suffered a stroke while working in his London office on 10 June 1858.


John Snow never recovered, dying six days later on 16 June 1858.


John Snow administered and experimented with ether, chloroform, ethyl nitrate, carbon disulfide, benzene, bromoform, ethyl bromide and dichloroethane during his lifetime.