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Joseph Lister

RCPSG, Illustrations in The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow by Tom Gibson

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Joseph Lister

A mezzotint by T Hamilton Crawford of Joseph Lister (1827-1912), the pioneer of antiseptic surgery.

Lister, a graduate of University College, London and the son-in-law of the Edinburgh surgeon James Syme, was appointed to the Regius Chair of Surgery at the University of Glasgow in January 1860. Nineteen months later he was appointed a visiting surgeon at Glasgow Royal Infirmary, taking charge of a male and a female ward.

Lister was distressed by the appalling squalor and suffering that he encountered in the wards, and in particular the agonies of patients suffering from suppurating and inflamed wounds. He began to experiment with carbolic acid as an antiseptic, to prevent and treat infection and inflammation. He concentrated his research on the treatment of cases of compound fractures, and in March 1867 was able to announce the success of his "antiseptic system of treatment in surgery" in the medical journal, the Lancet.

Lister was appointed Professor of Clinical Surgery at the University of Edinburgh in 1869, where he developed his improve his surgical methods and introduced his famous carbolic acid spray to operating theatres. He was created a baronet in 1897 and given the freedom of the city of Glasgow in 1908.

Reference: RCPSG, Illustrations used in The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow by Tom Gibson

Reproduced with the permission of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow

Keywords:
amputations, antiseptic surgery, antiseptics, carbolic acid sprays, compound fractures, freemen, Glasgow Royal Infirmary, hospital wards, infections, patient care, portraits, professors, surgeons, University of Glasgow



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