Ernst von Bergmann

Ernst von Bergmann

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Credit: SCIENCE SOURCE/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Ernst von Bergmann. Born: Riga, Latvia, 16 December 1836. Died: Wiesbaden, Germany, 25 March 1907. German surgeon. He was the first to introduce steam heat sterilization of surgical instruments, dramatically reducing the rates of surgical infections due to sepsis. His experience during the Russo-Turkish war (1877-1878) was key to his understanding of the dangers of unsanitary conditions during surgery. He is the author of a classic work on cranial surgery entitled, Die Chirurgische Behandlung der Hirnkrankheiten (1888; The Surgical Treatment of Brain Disorders), and wrote the first textbook on nervous system surgery in 1870. From the collection of the NYPL.

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