Joseph Lister was a British surgeon best remembered today for pioneering antiseptic techniques to reduce infection rates, and thus morbidity and mortality, following surgical procedures. Lister was born to a Quaker family in Upton, Essex, England; his father was the physicist Joseph Jackson Lister, who invented the achromatic microscope. Joseph Lister studied medicine at University College, London, and graduated in 1852. He served as a resident in University Hospital, London, and was then appointed as an assistant surgeon at the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary in 1856, where he worked under James Syme. In 1859, Lister was appointed to the Regius Professorship of Surgery at Glasgow University, and in 1861, he became surgeon of the Glasgow Royal Infirmary.

When Lister began his career, the mortality rate for surgery ...

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