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Joseph Lister Autographs, Memorabilia & Collectibles

Born: April 05, 1827
Died: February 10, 1912
Biography | show moreshow less
JOSEPH LISTER (1827-1912), called the "Founder of Antiseptic Surgery", signed this album leaf the year that he became weakened by a serious illness from which he would never fully recover. Over the next several years, the famed British surgeon collaborated with his friends and colleagues to complete The Collected Papers of Joseph, Baron Lister (1909), a two-volume set of almost 1,000 pages. In the 1860s, Lister had implemented the practice of antiseptic surgery by using carbolic acid sprays to kill airborne germs. He later realized that germs were present elsewhere, making it necessary for doctors and nurses to wash their hands and to disinfect instruments and dressings used in the operating room. This procedure saved nearly 50 percent of his patients, who otherwise would have died from infection without the antiseptic conditions. Because of Lister, the surgical death rate dropped to about three percent. In 1880, be began using catgut sutures, instead of hemp, on his patients. The new sutures proved beneficial because they dissolved in the body after a period of time. Lister also served as President of the Royal Society (1895-1900).

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