Hist. Coll. WOD L773
London: John Churchill
In the days before anaesthetic, speed in surgery was important to minimise pain and shock. The flamboyant Robert Liston (1794-1847) was acknowledged as ‘the fastest knife’ in London - said to be able to amputate a limb in 28 seconds. In one operation, he reputedly removed a leg in under 2 minutes. During the operation, he also removed the fingers of his assistant, and slashed the coat of a bystander. He achieved the only recorded case of a 300% surgical mortality rate: the patient died of a hospital infection; the assistant died of sepsis; and the bystander dropped dead of fright.
Robert Liston, “Practical Surgery,” ourheritage.ac.nz | OUR Heritage, accessed January 27, 2022, https://ourheritage.ac.nz/items/show/11039.
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