Lister, Joseph, Baron Lister

Lister, Joseph, Baron Lister
SUBJECT AREA: Medical technology
b. 5 April 1827 Upton, Essex, England
d. 10 February 1912 Walmer, Kent, England
English surgeon, founder of the antiseptic and aseptic principles of surgical practice.
Of Quaker stock, his father also being a Fellow of the Royal Society, he studied medicine at University College, London. He qualified, and became a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons, in 1852. Wishing to pursue a surgical career, he moved to Edinburgh to study surgery under William Syme, whose daughter he married in 1852, the same year he was appointed Assistant Surgeon to the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary.
Until his appointment as Regius Professor of Surgery at Glasgow University and Glasgow Royal Infirmary in 1861, he was engaged in a wide variety of investigations into the nature of inflammation and the effects of irritants on wounds. Following his move to Glasgow, he became particularly involved in the major problems arising out of the vast increase in the number of surgical procedures brought about by the recent introduction of general anaesthesia. By 1865 his continuing study of wound inflammation and the microbial studies of Pasteur had led him to institute in the operating theatre a regime of surgical antisepsis involving the use of a carbolic acid spray coupled with the sterilization of instruments, the site of operation and the hands of the operator. Increasingly it was appreciated that the air was the least important origin of infection, and by 1887 the antiseptic approach had been superseded by the aseptic.
In 1869 he succeeded Syme in the Chair at Edinburgh and his methods were widely accepted abroad. In 1877 he moved to the Chair of Surgery at King's College Hospital, London, in the hope of encouraging acceptance of his work in the metropolis. As well as developing a variety of new surgical procedures, he was engaged for many years in the development of surgical ligatures, which had always been a potent stimulant of infection. His choice of catgut as a sterilizable, absorbable material paved the way for major developments in this field. The Lister Institute of Preventive Medicine was named in his honour in 1903.
Principal Honours and Distinctions
Created Baronet 1883. Baron 1897. Order of Merit 1902. President, Royal Society 1895– 1900.
1870, "On the effects of the antiseptic system of treatment upon the salubrity of a surgical hospital", Lancet.
1859, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society.
1863, Croonian Lecture.
1881, 1900, Transactions of the International Medical Congress.
Further Reading
R.J.Godlee, 1924, Lord Lister.
1927, Lister Centenary Handbook, London: Wellcome Historical Medical Museum. H.C.Cameron, 1948, Joseph Lister, the Friend of Man.

Biographical history of technology. - Taylor & Francis e-Librar. . 2005.

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  • Lister , Joseph, Baron — (1827–1912) British physician Lister, the son of Joseph Jackson Lister, was born at Upton in England and educated at Quaker schools before entering University College, London, in 1843. University College was, at the time, the only English… …   Scientists

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  • baron — /bar euhn/, n. 1. a member of the lowest grade of nobility. 2. (in Britain) a. a feudal vassal holding his lands under a direct grant from the king. b. a direct descendant of such a vassal or his equal in the nobility. c. a member of the House of …   Universalium

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  • Lister — /lis teuhr/, n. Joseph, 1st Baron Lister of Lyme Regis /luym ree jis/, 1827 1912, English surgeon: founder of modern antiseptic surgery. * * * (as used in expressions) Lister Joseph Baron Lister of Lyme Regis Lister Samuel Cunliffe Baron Masham… …   Universalium

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