Back to Ward and Patient Casebooks, 18th-19th century

Patient Casebook 1870: Joseph Lister

For biographical information on Lord Lister see his entry on the Surgeons Database.

Joseph Lister FRCSEd initiated the era of antisepsis in Glasgow, however he returned to Edinburgh for a second spell in 1869 to take up the Chair of Clinical Surgery, which had been relinquished by his father-in-law James Syme who had suffered a stroke. During his time in Edinburgh he worked hard to reduce infection rates by continuing to develop methods of antisepsis and asepsis. The meticulous nature of Lister’s personality became ever more evident at the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, with even the most minor of dressings, if not prepared by Lister’s own hand, had to be prepared under his personal supervision, as becomes apparent in this ward journal. The clinical casebook, dated 1870-71, covers Lister’s surgical wards 4 and 5. We are very fortunate that this journal has survived; as you will see from the cover letter, it was rescued from a dustbin outside the Infirmary around 1880!

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