What did Joseph Lister believe in?
Lister believed that microbes were carried through the air and caused the outbreak of diseases in the wards (ward fever). He realized that people who have had surgery were more vulnerable because their bodies were weaker and had open wounds. Therefore germs could enter bodies easier. Lister decided that surgery wounds would have to be cleaned thoroughly, then covered with a piece of lint which had been soaked in carbolic acid. He first used this method on patients who had compound fractures, where the bone had penetrated through the skin, leaving a large wound open for infection. Lister introduced regular hand washing and sterilization of all operation tools in his hospital, to limit infection. Lister’s survival rate climbed and was a huge success. He then furthered his research and developed his idea further by creating a machine that sprayed a mist of carbolic acid into the air, during an operation. From 1864-1866 the death rate following operation was 45.7%, then from 1867-1870 that fell to only 15%, due to Lister’s clinical practice. Lister’s discoveries were recognized by countries worldwide and adopted by some surgeons who practiced his ‘Listerian Principles.