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1 The Development of Surgery By Mr DayDownloaded from

2 Lesson Objectives To investigate the development of surgery focusing on anaesthetics, antiseptics and aseptic surgery.

3 3 Main Problems With Surgery Pain Infection Bleeding By the 1800s there were no decent anaesthetics. People relied on alcohol, opium and hypnosis.

4 Development of Anaesthetics In 1799 Humphrey Davey discovered that nitrous oxide (laughing gas) relieved pain. His discovery was ignored by the medical profession who believed it unimportant. In 1845 Horace Wells saw people inhaling the gas at a fair. He observed that they failed to feel the effects of pain. He set up a demonstration but it failed miserably!

5 Development of Anaesthetics In 1846 William Morton removed a tumour from a patients neck using ether as an anaesthetic. In December of the same year Robert Liston removed a patients leg in 26 seconds! The medical profession began to sit up and take notice. In 1847 James Simpson experimented with chloroform. He administered it to over 50 women and the results were impressive.

6 Opposition There were various reasons why people were opposed to the development. It was difficult to judge the correct amount. Accidents happened. People opposed on religious grounds e.g. childbirth. Some people didnt trust surgeons. Others felt that men that relied on anaesthetics were soft.

7 Breakthrough! Opposition melted away when Queen Victoria used chloroform to give birth to her 8 th child. By the end of the 19 th century the anaesthetist had become a specialist in his own right.

8 Danger! Infection! Surgeons got a little carried away. Operations could now be carried out with the patients feeling little pain or serious discomfort. The big danger was now infection. Surgeons wore normal clothes. Instruments were not sterilised, sometimes not even cleaned!

9 Antiseptics In 1847 a Hungarian doctor called Semmelweiss ordered doctors in his hospital to wash hands after handling dead bodies.They did. Rates of puerperal fever amongst new mothers fell.

10 Lister Lister rhymes with Blister Joseph Lister was responsible for the big breakthrough in fighting infection. He had studied Pasteurs findings. He ensured that instruments, the patient, the surgeons hands and even the air were drenched with a carbolic acid spray. His results were stunning. By 1912 up to 10 times more operations were taking place than 40 years before with less infection. It was now safe to be operated on.

11 Aseptic Surgery The problem with carbolic acid is that it could act as an irritant. In Germany aseptic surgery began to be developed. This is the process of killing germs without the need for chemicals. (superheated steam). In America a surgeon called William Halstead introduced surgical masks and gloves and cut rates of infection even further. Operating theatres were now pristine places.

12 Two Very Clean Doctors

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