xxxxxThe English surgeon Joseph Lister is regarded as the founder of antiseptic medicine. In 1865, influenced by the germ theory put forward by Louis Pasteur, he introduced strict rules of hygiene in the operating theatre, and applied carbolic acid, a powerful disinfectant, to wounds and bandages in order to reduce the possibility of infection after surgery. His methods, introduced while working at Glasgow Royal Infirmary in the 1860s, proved highly successful, and reduced the number of deaths from 45 to 15 percent in a matter of two years. By 1880 his methods had won approval and were in wide use. He also worked in the clinical surgeries at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary and King’s College Hospital, London, where he contributed to the advance of health education. For his services to medicine he was made a baronet in 1883, and raised to the peerage in 1897. He was also president of the Royal Society for five years, and in 1902 was appointed one of the original twelve members of the Order of Merit. His method of antisepsis, together with the advent of anaesthesia, mark the beginning of modern surgery.
JOSEPH LISTER 1827 -
Lister: by the English artist Harry Herman Salomon (1860-
xxxxxIn 1865 the English surgeon Joseph Lister, influenced by Louis Pasteur’s work on bacteria, became the founder of antiseptc medicine. By introducing strict rules of hygiene in the operating theatre and applying carbolic acid, a powerful disinfectant, to reduce the possibility of sepsis (infection) after surgery, he achieved a two-
xxxxxListerxwas born in Upton, Essex, and after attending two Quaker institutions, he studied medicine at University College, London, and then Edinburgh University, where he worked as assistant to the well-
xxxxxThe break through came in 1865. Dissatisfied with the current belief that infection was caused by bad (polluted) air, he came to see Louis Pasteur’s germ theory as more in line with his own idea that sepsis was caused by some form of dust. With this in mind he began using carbolic acid not only to clean the operating theatre, the wards and the surgical instruments, but also to provide a barrier between the wound and the germ-
xxxxxIn 1869 Lister was appointed to the chair of Clinical Surgery at Edinburgh, succeeding his former tutor James Syme. He continued his antisepsis work, aided by the advances made in this direction by German surgeons during the Franco-
xxxxxApart from his clinical work, Lister showed an interest in hygiene in hospitals, the transport of the sick and wounded, and health education in general. In 1891, while working in London, he was appointed to the chair of the British Institute of Preventive Medicine, later renamed the Lister Institute in his honour. In recognition of the advances he made in medical knowledge, he was made a baronet in 1883 and raised to the peerage in 1897. He also served as president of the Royal Society from 1895 to 1900, and in 1902 was appointed one of the original twelve members of the Order of Merit. A quiet, unassuming man, he was dedicated towards his work and modest about his achievements.
xxxxxListerxwrote many papers to professional journals, but he did not write a book. However, the English surgeon William Cheyne (1852-
xxxxxIncidentally, carbolic acid, sometimes referred to as “phenol”, was a chemical that was being used at this time to combat foul-
xxxxx……xLaterxin his career Lister used steam to sterilize surgical instruments, a method introduced by the German surgeon Ernst von Bergmann (1836-
Xxxxx……xLister was a great admirer of the Hungarian physician Ignaz Semmelweiss. He introduced cleaning methods while working in Vienna in the 1840s -
xxxxx…… Lister, along with John Hunter, are the only two British surgeons who have a public monument in London to commemorate their contribution to medicine. Lister’s statue stands in Portland Place, and there is another of him in Kelvingrove Park, Glasgow, the city closely associated with his pioneering work.
xxxxxA number of notable advances were made in medical knowledge at this time. ThexFrench physiologist Claude Bernard (1813-
xxxxxAnd two doctors made important discoveries in tropical medicine. ThexNorwegian physician Armauer Hansen (1841-
xxxxxInx1867, after lengthy research, the French physicist Jean-
xxxxxLouis Pasteur (1822-
xxxxxLouis Pasteur (1822-
xxxxxIn 1860, he took this theory further by proving that a bowl of soup, when open to the air, would become contaminated by tiny living organisms (“germs”) contained in particles of dust. However, once the soup was protected from these dust particles by some kind of filter, it remained unharmed and edible. This not only disproved the theory of spontaneous generation (the idea that living organisms such as maggots were generated from non-
xxxxxAn opportunity for Pasteur to learn more about infectious diseases came in 1865 when he was the administrator and director of scientific studies at the École Normale in Paris. It was then that he was commissioned by the government to go to the assistance of the silk industry in southern France. A disease among the silkworms, known as pebrine, had killed off the silkworms in large numbers and put this thriving industry in danger of complete collapse. After microscopic observation of the diseased silkworms, the moths and their eggs, Pasteur proved that the disease was due to a tiny parasite and that apart from being highly contagious, the disease was also hereditary. His solution was to destroy all infested worms and mulberry leaves (on which the worms fed) and re-
xxxxxIt was from this study of the silkworm disease, together with his previous work on fermentation and spontaneous generation, that led to Pasteur’s germ theory of disease, a theory that was the single and most important contribution to medical science and the practice of surgery. It was not universally accepted overnight -
xxxxxIncidentally, in 1870 Pasteur studied the manufacture of beer in France and London and, as he had done for the wine industry in the 1860s, came up with a means of preserving the beer over a long period of time. Exporters were thus able to send their product to the Far East and beyond without fear of it deteriorating. ……
xxxxx…… When the Franco-