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Joseph Molister

Joseph Lister 1902.jpg
Lister in 1902
President of the Royal Society
In office
Preceded by The Lord Kelvin
Succeeded by Sir William Huggins
Personal details
Born (1827-04-05)5 April 1827
Upton House, West Ham, England
Died 10 February 1912(1912-02-10) (aged 84)
Walmer, Kent, England
Nationality British
Spouse(s) Agnes Lister (nee Syme)
Alma mater University College, London
Known for Surgical sterile techniques
Awards Royal Medal (1880)
Albert Medal (1894)
Copley Medal (1902)
Scientific career
Fields Medicine
Institutions King's College London
University of Glasgow
University of Edinburgh
University College, London

Joseph Lister, 1st Baron Lister, OM, PC, PRS (5 April 1827 – 10 February 1912), known between 1883 and 1897 as Sir Joseph Lister, Bt., was a British surgeon and a pioneer of antiseptic surgery.

Lister promoted the idea of sterile surgery while working at the Glasgow Royal Infirmary. Lister successfully introduced carbolic acid (now known as phenol) to sterilise surgical instruments and to clean wounds.

Applying Louis Pasteur's advances in microbiology, Lister championed the use of carbolic acid as an antiseptic, so that it became the first widely used antiseptic in surgery. He first suspected it would prove an adequate disinfectant because it was used to ease the stench from fields irrigated with sewage waste. He presumed it was safe because fields treated with carbolic acid produced no apparent ill-effects on the livestock that later grazed upon them.

Lister's work led to a reduction in post-operative infections and made surgery safer for patients, distinguishing him as the "father of modern surgery".

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