A gripping read In the first decade of the last century my grandmother, then a young medical student in London, heard Lord Lister lecture about the benefits of antisepsis in medical practice. Seventy years earlier her grandfather had been the first doctor to successfully treat a young agricultural worker with a compound fractured femur by setting the leg in traction in a trough filled with plaster of Paris. The young man made a full recovery, but he was lucky. If he had been admitted to hospital his chances of…
Main title is misleading The title: The Butchering Art, is misleading because it’s a biography of Joseph Lister’s life and not a history of surgery, as I thought. Never mind, it is gruesome enough with details of mistakes like a penis chopped off alongside a leg because, before ether, the patient was awake and speed was crucial. Lister observed the first operation when ether was used and surgeons could finally take more time with their knives and saws. But still most everyone died from infection because surgeons’…
A fabulously gruesome read The Butchering Art is one of my favourite non fiction reads this year – I couldnât put it down! Lindsey Fitzharris recounts the fascinating story of Joseph Lister, and his quest to improve the chances of patients undergoing surgery in 19th century Britain who, more often than not, died of post-operative infection. Full of quirky facts, wry observations and gruesome details, this is a gripping book.Meticulously researched and brilliantly written, Lindsey recreates the horrors of…
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