John Snow

John Snow (1813-1858)

John Snow (1813-1858) was an English physician.

Snow is considered one of the fathers of modern epidemiology (the cholera cartographer); and a leader in the development of anaesthesia, medical hygiene and public health.

Developed the first staging classification for depth of anaesthesia in 1847, the five stages of narcotism or etherization as a precursor to classifications by Plomley and Guedel (1937)


  • Born 15 March 1813
  • Died 16 June 1858

Medical Eponyms

Key Medical Attributions


The first classification system for general anaesthesia was proposed in 1847 by John Snow as the 5 stages of etherization (narcotism); and furthered by Francis Plomley in the Lancet in the same year. Guedel later proposed a four stage classification system to assess the depth of general anesthesia in 1937. This was designed for use with a single inhalational anesthetic agent (ether), in patients premedicated with morphine and atropine.


Major Publications




eponymictionary CTA


the person behind the name

Emergency physician MA (Oxon) MBChB (Edin) FACEM FFSEM with a passion for rugby; medical history; medical education; and asynchronous learning #FOAMed evangelist. Co-founder and CTO of Life in the Fast lane | Eponyms | Books |

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