The pioneering surgeons who cleaned up filthy hospitals

Before antiseptics were invented, a trip to the hospital might kill you – even if you survived the surgery.

A handful of visionary doctors realised what the cause was.

  • Richard Hollingham
  • BBC

By the 1860s, with a skilled surgeon in a modern European hospital you had about an eight-in-10 chance of surviving an operation.

But your odds of leaving hospital alive were about 50/50.

Infection and disease ravaged hospital wards.

As surgeons moved between patients examining wounds and probing gangrenous tissue, they couldn’t understand why so many in their charge were dying.

The condition became…

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