Joseph Lister

Joseph Lister

British surgeon and scientist Joseph Lister is best known for spearheading the medical use of antiseptic medicine.


Joseph Lister was born on April 5, 1827, in Upton, England. In 1861, Lister observed that 45 to 50 percent of amputation patients died from sepsis. In 1865, he learned of Louis Pasteur's theory that microorganisms cause infection. Using phenol as an antiseptic, he reduced the mortality rate in his ward to 15 percent within four years. Lister died on February 10, 1912, in Walmer, England. Today, he is regarded as the "founder of antiseptic medicine."

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