Joseph Lister and Antiseptics
None of the doctors could figure it out. During the nineteenth century, surviving surgery was only half the battle. In many hospitals, 50 percent of amputees lived through their painful operations only to die soon afterward in their beds. Everyone had a theory for what doctors referred to as hospitalism. But it was not until Joseph Lister and his pioneering work in antiseptic methods that death rates were greatly reduced after surgery. His work is so important that surgical history is divided into two eras: Before Lister and After Lister.