LISTON, ROBERT, F.R.S.,
an eminent surgeon, the son of Rev. Henry Liston, minister of
Ecclesmachan, Linlithgowshire, was born October 28, 1794. He became
a graduate of the royal college of surgeons of Edinburgh and London,
and in 1815 was appointed ordinary house surgeon of the Royal
Infirmary of Edinburgh. In 1817 he established himself in Edinburgh
as a surgeon, and from 1822 to 1834 delivered lectures, first on
anatomy, and afterwards on surgery, in that city. He soon rose into
eminence, both as a lecturer and an operator; but failed in being
appointed professor of surgery in the university of Edinburgh. In
1833 he published his ‘Principles of Surgery,’ a work which
underwent frequent revision and passed through several editions. His
lectures on various subjects were published in the Lancet.
In 1834 he was appointed surgeon to the North London Hospital.
Notwithstanding his superiority as an operator, he was not anxious
to recommend the use of the knife. On the contrary, he was
remarkably cautious in this respect. Fearless in operation, he was
always desirous of avoiding the necessity of it, if any other remedy
could be found. In London his practice soon became extensive, and he
was subsequently appointed professor of clinical surgery in
In 1840, he published his ‘Elements of Surgery,’ in 1 vol.
8vo, and in 1846 he was chosen one of the examiners of the Royal
College of Surgeons. His name was now known in every medical school
of Europe and America, and his reputation as an operator was
unrivalled. But in the zenith of his manhood, and the vigour of his
practice, he was cut off by death, December 7, 1847, aged 53. About
a year before his death, he began to be troubled with an affection
of the throat. But the true nature of his disease baffled the skill
of his medical advisers, and it was not until a post mortem
examination that it was ascertained he had laboured under aneurism
of the aorta.
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