Joseph Lister, English surgeon

Joseph Lister, English surgeon

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Credit: SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Joseph Lister (1827-1912), English surgeon. Lister qualified as a surgeon in 1852 at the University of London. At that time surgery was usually followed by inflammation and putrefaction of the wound, which resulted in fatality in half of the cases. Lister, having read Pasteur's work on fermentation, realised that sepsis was caused by micro-organisms that could be killed with chemical compounds. Lister mainly used crude phenol solution and steam as his preferred antiseptics for dressings and instruments. Antiseptic procedures produced immediate improvements and his methods were quickly adopted.

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