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Joseph Lister Lister, 1st Baron

Lister, Joseph Lister, 1st Baron, 1827–1912, English surgeon, educated at University College, London. He brought to surgery the principle of antisepsis, an outgrowth of Pasteur's theory that bacteria cause infection. In 1865, Lister proved the effectiveness of his methods, thus founding modern antiseptic surgery. Using carbolic acid as the antiseptic agent, he devised techniques of applying it that, when used in conjunction with his heat sterilization of instruments, brought about dramatic decreases in postoperative fatality. He developed absorbable ligatures and the drainage tube, both of which have come into general use for wounds and incisions. He was professor of clinical surgery at Edinburgh Univ. (1869–76) and at King's College, London (1877–93).

See biography by L. Farmer (1962); M. Goldman, Lister Ward (1987).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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