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Briefly describe Lister's ideas about hospital infection and his suggestions for dealing with this problem. Did these ideas have more impact in the short term or in the long term?

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Task 3: Briefly describe Lister's ideas about hospital infection and his suggestions for dealing with this problem. Did these ideas have more impact in the short term or in the long term? Throughout most of Lister's career, his ideas and theories were mocked. The basis for the majority of his work was the germ theory. This stated that germs were tiny micro organisms that were the cause of infection and disease and not the result of it. Because of the ignorance of the medical professions at this time, Lister's ideas were not accepted by most doctors and his was made a mockery. The doctors could not understand how something that they could not see could exist. This meant that although Lister's ideas would save thousands of people per year, they would not be nationally and globally excepted until much later in his life. Even the most respectable people in medical history did not except Lister's ideas. For example, Florence Nightingale did not believe Lister's theories and rejected them. Lister triumphed in the end, and his theories were adopted into the medical profession. ...read more.


His methods and ideas were enthusiastically adopted on the continent and especially in Germany. They had used his methods in the Franco-l'russian War of 1870 with good results. Britain however was sceptical and held back from adopting these proven methods. The majority of doctors in England could not be bothered to study Lister's methods, but those that did converted to his ways. It wasn't until Lister moved to London that his ideas and methods were more nationally accepted. Within a month of living in London, Lister had the opportunity to prove the superiority of his method. Francis Smith, a forty-year-old billposter, sustained a simple fracture of his right patella on the 12th October 1877 and was admitted to Lister's ward. First he attempted to unite the two fragments by traction but failed to secure the union and then announced he intended to incise the skin and wire the fractured bone together. This method would break one of the rules of old fashioned surgery. A simple fracture might cause disability if it failed to unite but did not put the patient's life at risk and did not risk loosing the limb completely. ...read more.


Lister had performed antiseptic surgery. It had never been performed before but as its popularity grew, it became a vital part of surgery and later developed into aseptic surgery. This is preventing the germs from being in the operating theatre as well as off the instruments and doctors. The germs are all killed outside of the theatre which is constantly kept clean. Because of Lister's ideas, we have been able to make further developments in medicine. The use of these methods meant that an operation was no longer a likely death sentence. Lister's methods made way for the development of modern day surgery. Because of his work, attitudes towards going to hospital and the expectations we have of an operation changed forever. He showed people how germs worked and proved that they existed and how they behaved. He showed doctors how to treat them after an operation and placed the foundations for other doctors to work on. It is because of Lister that we have aseptic surgery, a technique that is used today where by germs are prevented completely from entering any open wounds. Lister made the way for modern surgery and it is because of this that he is considered one of the greatest surgeons in the history of medicine. ?? ?? ?? ?? Millie Popovic ...read more.

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