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Significant Scots
Joseph Lister


Born 1827. A surgeon who pioneered the use of antiseptics and thereby dramatically reduced the number of post-opertive deaths due to infection.

After an early education at various Quaker schools he entered University College, London. After studying the arts he graduated and decided to take up medicine at the same College. He enrolled in the faculty of medical science in October 1848. During this time he was taught by the eminent physiologist William Sharpey, recognised as one of the greatest surgical teacher of his day. Lister was a brilliant student and graduated a bachelor of medicine with honours in 1852. In October 1856 he was appointed as an assistant surgeon, at the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, to James Syme, who's daughter he later married. The marriage, although childless, was a happy one, with his wife entering fully into Lister's professional life.

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