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About Joseph Lister



He was a British surgeon in the19th century, and still considered the Father of modern surgery, He was a pioneer of antiseptic surgery and preventative medicine; he found a way to prevent infection in wounds during and after surgery. He was the first to apply the science of Germ Theory to surgery.


Millions can thank Dr. Joseph Lister, he is considered the "father" of antiseptic surgery (An antisepsis system destroys germs on the surgeon's hands and instruments and in the immediate surroundings, using antiseptic washes and sprays.)


He applied Louis Pasteur’s germ theory of fermentation on wound putrefaction, he promoted the idea of sterilization in surgery using carbolic acid (phenol) as an antiseptic. His method reduced the incidence of wound sepsis and gangrene, which, in turn, reduced the need for amputation. By showing how germs could be prevented from entering the wound, Lister increased the safety of surgical operations and laid the foundations for all subsequent advances in the field.


Many surgeons at the time claimed that Lister's antiseptic methods slowed things, at a time when speed was still essential because of blood loss. Lister could be very critical of other surgeons. Therefore, they were reluctant to accept his ideas. In conclusion, Joseph Lister helped introduce germ theory and laid the foundation for the use of antiseptics in the practice of medicine and surgery. Today, asepsis and sterile techniques have replaced antisepsis as the principal method in combating wound infection. Lister’s observations and recommendations helped revolutionize surgical practice, making surgery and wound healing safer for patients worldwide and continues..


Lister's system reduced mortality rates from major operations from around 40 per cent to less than three per cent by 1910.

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