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