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Baron Joseph (1827–1912). Founder of modern antiseptic surgery. Born at Upton, Essex, England, Lister set out in a scientific manner to apply Pasteur's discoveries to the prevention of the development of microorganisms in wounds. His research was on the early stages of inflammation and blood coagulation, and in 1865 he successfully used carbolic acid in the treatment of an open fracture. Next he turned his attention to the arrest of hemorrhage in aseptic wounds, which led him to adopt a sulfochromic catgut for tying arteries, a material capable of more speedy absorption than silk or flax, which had long been employed. He wrote articles on amputation and anesthetics. Lister was created a baronet in 1883 and raised to the peerage in 1893, but perhaps the greatest memorial to him is the Lister Institute of Preventive Medicine in London.


Joseph (Lord Lister), English surgeon, 1827-1912. See: Listerella, Listeria, listerism, Lister dressing, Lister method, Lister tubercle.

Lister, Joseph

Etymology: Scottish surgeon, 1827-1912
the surgeon who introduced the use of antiseptic surgery in London hospitals in 1867. Lister operations were performed under a spray of diluted carbolic acid, instruments were dipped in carbolic acid, and wounds were dressed with gauze similarly treated.
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