History Medicine Through Time - Joseph Lister

Revision cards about Joesph Lister, focusing on the work he did, the opposition he faced and the impact he caused. I hope this was helpful! :D (These are notes taken from the "Medicine and Health Through Time" textbook)

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  • Created by: Katie
  • Created on: 11-06-12 18:37

Joseph Lister's Work

·         One of the outstanding surgeons of the 19th century

·         He had researched gangrene and infection, and had a keen interest in the application of science to medicine and this shows that he believed in natural causes and treatments

·         He had seen carbolic spray used to treat sewage

·         Experimented with it and realised that it could be sprayed over the wound during surgery to limit infection

·         The death rate of patients undergoing surgery was originally 45.7% without antiseptics, but once carbolic spray was introduced, it dropped to 15%

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·         Seen as “extreme” as the spray soaked the operating theatre, made everything smell and cracked the surgeon’s skin

·         Surgeons were still convinced that speed was essential for a successful operation, so they thought that using antiseptics would slow them down

·         When some surgeons tried to copy Lister’s methods, they got different results (mainly because they were less systematic)

·         As Pasteur’s ideas of the germ theory spread very slowly, surgeons found it hard to accept the idea of micro-organisms, therefore did not believe there was a need for antiseptics

·         Lister was always changing his techniques and people thought it was because he believed they were wrong, but it was because he wanted to find a substance that would work even better

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·         Koch’s discovery of the bacterium that caused septicaemia boosted Lister’s ideas

·         In the late 1890s his ideas were made into regulations in hospitals

·         Operating theatres and hospitals were rigorously cleaned

·         From 1887, all instruments were steam-sterilised

·         In 1894, sterilised rubber gloves were used

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