It would carry me far beyond the limited time which, by the rules of the Association, is alone at my disposal, were I to enter into the various applications of the antiseptic principle in the several special departments of surgery.
There is, however, one point more that I cannot but advert to, viz., the influence of this mode of treatment upon the general healthiness of an hospital. Previously to its introduction the two large wards in which most of my cases of accident and of operation are treated were among the unhealthiest in the whole surgical division of the Glasgow Royal Infirmary, in consequence apparently of those wards being unfavorably placed with reference to the supply of fresh air; and I have felt ashamed when recording the results of my practice, to have so often to allude to hospital gangrene or pyaemia. It was interesting, though melancholy, to observe that whenever all or nearly all the beds contained cases with open sores, these grievous complications were pretty sure to show themselves; so that I came to welcome simple fractures, though in themselves of little interest either for myself or the students, because their presence diminished the proportion of open sores among the patients. But since the antiseptic treatment has been brought into full operation, and wounds and abscesses no longer poison the atmosphere with putrid exhalations, my wards, though in other respects under precisely the same circumstances as before, have completely changed their character; so that during the last nine months not a single instance of pysemia, hospital gangrene, or erysipelas has occurred in them.
As there appears to be no doubt regarding the cause of this change, the importance of the fact can hardly be exaggerated.
theory of fermentation
by Louis Pasteur
F. Faulkner and D. C. Robb
The germ theory and
its applications to medicine and
by mm. Pasteur, JOURBERT, and Chamberland
H. C. Ernst, M. D.
Professor of bacteriology in the Harvard medical school
On the extension of the germ
theory to the etiology of
translated by H. C. Ernst, M. D.