Sunday , November 29 2020

Robert Liston: The Controversial and Successful 19th Century Church Performing Amputations in Seconds



Robert ListonCopyright of the image
Wellcome Collection

Caption

High, strong and impressive: his colleagues didn't want him much, but his patients did.

"It measured 1.88 meters and is operated with a bottle green coat and rubber boots. He jumped on the plates stained with blood to where he was lying your patient weak, sweaty, bound as if it was a duelist".

This is the description of a typical surgery performed by surgeon Robert Liston in the 1830s.

"& # 39;Time, gentlemen, time, time!& # 39;.youp ghe killed students with pocket watches chained by iron railings from the gallery.

"Everyone swore that his first knife was followed so quickly the chirp of the saw in the bone it they seemed simultaneous.

"To release his two hands I pressed the bloody knife between the teeth".

The detailed account gives us an idea of ​​which operation was in the early 1800s.

Every second is counted

At that time, surgeons, and even more so, their patients continued with the main problems for centuries: pain, shock, lack of time, blood loss and infection.

One of the major challenges was the very difficult task operate successfully to a conscious patient.

Copyright of the image
Wellcome Collection

Caption

Knives designed by Robert Liston (1794-1847) with long blade with a sharp edge.

Speed ​​was essential to minimize patient pain and improve their chances of surviving surgery.

A good surgeon could amputate a leg in less than three minutes.

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only

Liston was one of the good surgeons.

In fact, the writings of the time show that he needed only a few seconds to perform some operations.

He was a fabulous man whose gruff voice was known as the scared students and patients, but was insurmountable for his skill and speed of operation, and his methods of amputee thighs were envy and despair by other surgeons.

Copyright of the image
Wellcome Collection

Caption

As a young student, it doesn't look so scary …

But his speed also made him the only surgeon known to have performed an operation Which one mortality it was of the 300%.

During a high-speed amputation, he cut off his assistant's fingers and spat a spectator's coat, which failed from scare.

The three died: the patient and the assistant of the sepsis and the spectator of the shock.

Notoriously better

Although it sounds as if Liston was incompetent, he was actually very respected, and that was the speed that was decisive for the deaths.

They say their reputation was so good that patients preferred to spend days in their waiting room to go to another doctor.

Surgeons who worked slower than Liston, not only lost 1 in 4 patientsbut sometimes lost before they operated them, because the pain and panic led them to break free and escape the operating room.

In contrast, Linton, who in 1835 became the first professor of surgery at University College London, Saved 9 out of 10 of their patients.

Yankee gimmick

At the beginning of the nineteenth century, scientists began experimenting with anesthetics to put the patient to sleep.

Copyright of the image
Wellcome Collection

Caption

Plan for "the first surgical operation performed in England with ether as anesthetic" as indicated in the document in which the attendees are named. Robert Liston is number 3.

The first gas used was the laughter that served to remove teeth, but could not be used for longer operation.

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In 1846 the ether was used in the United States.

The same year in London, Liston received a patient named Frederick Churchill who had a knee problem that no treatment had been able to cure him.

The only option was amputation.

On the day of the operation, Liston entered the operating room and announced: "Today we need a Yankee trickGentlemen, it makes men become insensitive. "

Then he took out a bottle of ether and his colleague gave it to the patient.

Copyright of the image
Wellcome Collection

Caption

Replica of the anesthetic apparatus used by R. Liston at University College Hospital in December 1846.

Liston began the operation, which ended 25 seconds later.

Churchill woke up a few minutes later and asked when the surgery should begin.

Slow down speed

The ether was not the ideal anesthetic as it was flammable and could damage the lungs.

But with this operation, Liston became one of the doctors who made his specialty become obsolete.

EThe pain would no longer be a hindrance to a successful operationand the speed would not be the surgeon's main quality.

But Liston didn't want to know how big the change would be because he died in a 53-year accident a few months after that surgery.

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