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The Scottish Nation

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 University College.

      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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