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Joseph Lister

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Joseph Lister (1827-1912)

Joseph Lister, 1st Baron Lister, OM, FRS (Born::April 5, 1827Died::February 10, 1912) was an English surgeon who brought forth the idea and principle of antisepsis, which was derived from Louis Pasteur's theory. A major disease of the time known was 'hospital gangrene' or sepsis, which is the Greek word for 'putrefaction.' Sepsis is caused by the exposure of moist body tissue to air. While covering wounds had been common practice for some, Lister made the covering out of lint, which was soaked in carbolic acid. He noticed an increased success rate, and later developed a more advanced machine that would pump out a fine mist of the carbolic acid into the air surrounding the operation. This air would prevent tiny micro-organisms from getting into the open wounds and infecting them. He made known that after his two years of experimenting, carbolic acid was an antiseptic, which means it was a way of preventing the wounds from becoming septic. Lister's work inspired tremendous improvements in the cleanliness of many 'operating theaters'. The long white gowns we associate today with doctors and scientists ensure dirt is seen easily, and surgical staff now wear near-sterile "scrubs".

Joseph Lister did not just work to glorify himself. He has clearly stated his intention and who his glorification belongs to...

I am a firm believer in the fundamental doctrines of Christianity. Men of Science, Men of God By Morris, Henry M.

Joseph Lister was the son of pious Quaker parents. He grew up with a deep spiritual influence on his life. Biographer Richard B. Fisher commented on his interpretation of Lister's life, "He became deeply religious. Indeed, he displayed that most un-Quakerlike attribute, religious enthusiasm." (Tornado In A Junkyard, By James Perloff pg.247)

Joseph Lister undoubtedly was deeply religious, as he was an active member in the Scottish Episcopal Church. He was always unwaveringly humble about his success; he knew that he was on this earth for a purpose and His success and purpose were driven by God's and His plan he had for Joseph's life. His drive came from glorifying God, rather than social status and financial success. Joseph Lister recognized God in a modest manner, "I have no hesitation in saying that in my opinion there is no antagonism between the Religion of Jesus Christ and any fact scientifically established." He definitely knew that there was a "divine-direction" for his life. Although at the time of his discovery, it was not well accepted. By 1893 nearing his time of retirement, the idea of antispepsis was universally acknowledged.

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