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Chloroform was used first as an anesthetic drug in 1847 during a childbirth. An anesthetic is a drug that renders a patient unconscious so surgery may be performed that would otherwise be quite painful. Chloroform acts as a depressant on the central nervous system, slowing the response time between the brain and the spinal cord and the peripheral nervous system. The use of chloroform was discontinued in favor of ether because chloroform could cause a condition known as "sudden sniffers death", where the heart goes into cardiac arrhythmia. Ether is another drug that depresses the central and peripheral nervous system where intense pain would be an issue. The chemical formula for chloroform is CHCl3, where there is one hydrogen, one carbon, and three chlorine atoms forming together to make one molecule of chloroform. Chloroform is a clear, sweet-smelling liquid that may be found occuring naturally in nature.
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