Please subscribe to Hay Player for access to this content (more details)
Subscribe for £15.00 or log in if you already have a subscription

Lindsey Fitzharris

The Butchering Art

Winter Weekend 2017 , 

In the nineteenth century, operating theatres were known as ‘gateways of death’, since half of those who underwent surgery didn't survive. At a time when surgery couldn't have been more dangerous, an unlikely figure stepped forward: Joseph Lister, a melancholy young Quaker surgeon. By making the then-audacious claim that germs were the source of all infection – and could be treated with antiseptics – he solved the riddle of post-operative death and changed the history of medicine for ever.