When Were Antiseptics Discovered?
Louis Pasteur, a French scientist, discovered and proved that micro-organisms cause fermentation and disease. A surgeon, Joseph Lister, who was working in a hospital in Glasgow, Scotland, read the article written by Louis Pasteur which said that these organisms, called bacteria or germs, were responsible for the spoiling of meat and milk. Pasteus also said that these germs float in the air.
Dr. Lister was worried about the patients who used to undergo surgery at his hospital, because many of them later developed infections and died. No one knew how to stop such infections. When he read Louis Pasteur’s paper, he wondered if the same organisms were responsible for the infections of people.
He used a chemical called ‘carbolic acid’ as an antiseptic to fight infection. He also made sure that all surgeons cleaned their instruments in this substance before they performed the operations.
Today, no doctor would ever operate on a patient without first washing his hands and instruments in an antiseptic.