Who is Joseph Lister ? What is Joseph Lister known for ?
The famous English surgeon Joseph Lister was born on April 5, 1827, in the town of Upton, Essex, as the son of a cultured family. When he was 4 years old, he decided to be a surgeon. After graduating from the medical school he started in 1844 in London in 1852, he started a career in surgery in Edinburgh, Scotland.
In 1860, he became a professor of surgery at the Royal Infirmary in Glasgovv, Scotland.
During his years as a medical student, he followed the first surgery in England where ether was used as an anesthetic. The anesthesia method, which enables patients to be operated without feeling terrible pain, was a big step in the development of surgery.
However, as the number of surgeries increased, the postoperative mortality rate also increased rapidly. Lister, who started working in Scotland as a newly completed surgeon, was horrified by seeing that one out of every three or four patients operated on died soon.
Lister read the article in 1865 about Louis Pasteur pouring wine on open wounds. The striking point in Pasteur’s work would be that if the bacteria were leavened and caused odor, there were microbes that caused inflammation in the wounds, if the microbes could destroy, the wounds would be healed. This idea of Louis Pasteur was the dream of Lister. So how would he do that?
Since the defenses of the patients who had surgery with a weak body were low, microbes could organize and settle faster in the wounds in the open or cut area of these patients. Lister focused his research on inflammation of tissues and microbes.
It was seen in Pasteur’s experiments that he was free of germs by boiling his medical equipment. Since this method cannot be applied in humans, the idea of dealing with this chemical came to mind.
He boiled all the instruments he used in surgery, phenol, and also sprayed phenol vapor to kill bacteria in the operating room air. Phenol worked. But it was a chemical strong enough to damage tissues.
When a news he read about carbolic acid, came to his mind with new ideas. In the news, when carbolic acid was used on animals, it was about removing and cleaning parasites and reducing diseases. He also examined the antiseptic direction acquisition details and continued his research. He developed a successful method of applying carbolic acid to open wounds. He used the technique of spraying air into the operating room with carbolic acid, covered his patients’ wounds with a cloth moistened with carbolic acid, and gauze dressings began to be used.
In the past, blood vessels cut during surgery were tied with hemp or silk threads. These threads, which were left to hang from the wound, were then cut and removed. Realizing that the surgical wounds that he had previously followed caused the infection of Lister, Lister turned to the idea of a substance that the body can accept as a natural substance. He developed the surgical use of a sterile (germ-free) thread to cover wounds.
Although the word “catgut”, which is used to sew the surgical wounds today, is called the cat intestine in Turkish, it has actually been the most important element of the surgery by using the sheep intestine as a catgut.
Antisepsis has become a basic principle for the development of surgery. Mortality rates declined by about 90%.
Joseph Lister, the understanding of cleanliness he brought to the medical world is not seen as a disability, but an invention. While the death of patients after surgery worsened the name of the surgery, the fact that the post-operative problem could not occur in open wounds or the material used in sewing was not a human-compatible substance.
The antiseptics were seen to be quite logical on the way he developed by spraying, and sterilization (micro-de-sterilization) performed in the operating theaters was still the result of the effort and effort of Joseph Lister.
These discoveries and practices are accepted as the beginning of modern surgery.