Map your history, make new connections and gain insights for family, local or special interest projects

The Use of Antiseptics in Operating Theatres

The problem of infection in operating theatres had been known about from the end of the C18th through the C19th.

    • More people were dying from infections acquired in the operating theatre than were dying of their ailments.
    • Florence Nightingale highlighted the need for a rigorous approach to hospital hygiene and Lister’s work with carbolic, changed the face of surgery in the UK.

During the 1870’s, Joseph Lister found that by spraying a fine spray of carbolic around the person being operated on and the hands of the surgeons, then the death rate from infection was dramatically reduced.

In 1879 Anthony Bell, a surgeon from Newcastle, patented a device for spraying a mixture of antiseptic powder and carbolic acid into the air.

This can be seen at the Science Museum in London.


%d bloggers like this: