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Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit


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Dr Joseph Lister: Medical Revolutionary

 By the Rev. Dr. Ed HirdDr Joseph Lister Picture

 “Nothing exceeds halitosis as a social offense.  Nothing equals Listerine® as a remedy.” Such was the claim of a 1928 advertisement for Listerine ® mouthwash. Listerine® Antiseptic mouthwash, wasn’t born in the bathroom, however, but in the operating room.

 

Back in 1865, Dr. Joseph Lister, the son of a well-known physicist, first demonstrated the use of an antiseptic in surgery.  Later, Dr. Joseph Lawrence refined his product and named it Listerine® after Dr. Lister.  History is uncertain whether Lister appreciated the favour.

 

One hundred and thirty years ago, almost 50% of the patients undergoing major surgery died from infection. As the famous saying went, “The operation was a success, but the patient died.”  In the 1870’s, Lister was the first to treat wounds with dressings soaked in carbolic acid.  Lister, in agreement with Dr. Louis Pasteur, suggested surgeons wash their hands and sterilize their instruments before operating.  After significant resistance, British and American hospitals gradually adopted the sterile procedures promoted by Lister.

 

Lister and Pasteur were personal friends who supported each other when viciously attacked Dr Louis Pasteurby the medical establishment.  When Pasteur was publicly honoured at age 70 by his medical peers,  he turned and bowed his head towards Lister, saying: “the future belongs to him who has done the most for suffering humanity.”

Lister has been described as the greatest man of the nineteenth century.  Even the common Bandaid, created by Johnson and Johnson, can be directly traced to Lister’s influence.

In the days before Lister, the death rate from amputation, the most frequent ‘major’ operation in his day, was forty percent.  By 1910, thanks to Lister’s influence, the death rate from amputation had dropped to less than three percent.  How many of us had relatives who were injured in World War One or Two, relatives who might not had survived without Lister’s contributions?

One of the most feared accidents a hundred years ago was the compound fracture, where the sharp end of the broken bone pierced the skin.  Because it so often resulted in death from infection, most doctors would immediately amputate the victim’s arms and legs.  When I think about how many of our teens have come back from Mount Seymour and Grouse with compound fractures from skiing or snowboarding, I give thanks for Joseph Lister.

Back then, surgeons did not wear gowns or Surgeongloves, nor did they cover their hair with caps or their noses and their mouths with masks.  The result was that the patient was in danger of infection, not from ‘bad air’ as they thought, but from the surgeon’s hands, his clothes, his breath, and his hair.   Lister had heard that ‘carbolic acid,’ a coal-tar derivative used to preserve railway tracks and ships’ timbers, was effective in treating sewage in Carlise, and in curing cattle of parasites.  By cleaning wounds and dressing his patients with carbolic acid, Lister was able to keep his hospital ward in Glasgow free of infection for nine months.  Lister’s cloud of carbolic spray drenched the whole area, surgeon and all, and so killed the bacteria before they had a chance to invade the wound.

Carbolic spray, however, was caustic to the skin and body tissues, and sometimes caused poisoning.  The surgeon’s skin would become bleached and numb, his nails cracked, and his lungs sore as he breathed in large quantities of carbolic.  Some surgeons became so ill that they had to give up using the spray entirely.  Even Lister described it as ‘a necessary evil incurred to attain a greater good.’ After many experiments, he found that boracic acid was a better antiseptic.

Because of his new fame, Lister was invited to leave Edinburgh and join the prestigious King’s College Hospital in London.  The newspapers reported Lister as saying that it was his duty to go to King’s because the teaching of surgery in London was very bad.  Such publicity did not go down well with his future London colleagues.  “Who is this ignorant professor from an insignificant Scottish University,” they said, “that he should dare to criticize the great London teaching-schools?”

 

Lister also made himself unpopular by Joseph Lister's antisepticinsisting for hygienic reasons that his wards should be separated from all other wards, and that they should not be shared by any other surgeon.  He even had the nerve to bring his own personally trained staff with him from Edinburgh.  Little by little however, Lister won the English over.

Dr. Frederick Cartwright, a Fellow in the Royal College of Surgeons, holds that Lister “was a humble servant of God, and that he always asked for His guidance in moments of difficulty.  There is no doubt that he believed himself to be directly inspired by God…To Lister, the operating-theatre was a temple.” Lister was very humble, but also very brave and determined.  In spite of all the opposition that he faced, he never gave up because he knew that God was guiding him to help humanity.

My prayer for those reading this article is that the ‘Great Physician’ Jesus may empower each of you, like  Joseph Lister, to be ‘revolutionaries’ for the healing of our homes and families.

 

 

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, BSW, MDiv, DMin

-author of the award-winning book Battle for the Soul of Canada

-previously published in the Deep Cove Crier

for better for worse-Click to check out our newest marriage book For Better For Worse: discovering the keys to a lasting relationship on Amazon. You can even read the first two chapters for free to see if the book speaks to you.

 

-The sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback and ebook form. In Canada, Amazon.ca has the book available in paperback and ebook.

It is also posted on Amazon UK (paperback and ebook ), Amazon France (paperback and ebook), and Amazon Germany (paperback and ebook).

Restoring Health is also available online on Barnes and Noble in both paperback and Nook/ebook form.  Nook gives a sample of the book to read online.

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, 102-15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, Canada V4A 0A5.

– In order to obtain a signed copy of the prequel book Battle for the Soul of Canada, please send a $18.50 cheque to ‘Ed Hird’, #102-15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, Canada V4A 0A5. For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD.  This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail ed_hird@telus.net . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $4.99 USD/CDN.

-Click to purchase the Companion Bible Study by Jan Cox (for the Battle of the Soul of Canada) in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca 


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Dr Louis Pasteur: Sacrificial Servant of All

By the Rev. Dr. Ed HirdDr Louis Pasteur

My family and I watched an Academy Award-winning movie which reminded me that every one of us owes an enormous debt to Dr. Louis Pasteur.

Just think of pasteurized milk and honey, making food safe for our families to eat and drink, thanks to Louis Pasteur.

Think of our children whose lives are safe from rabies transmitted by ‘mad dogs’, thanks to Louis Pasteur.  Think of our wives and mothers who need not fear death from infection during childbirth, thanks to Louis Pasteur.  Think of the sheep, cattle and chickens that we can safely rely on for our food supply, thanks to Louis Pasteur.  No wonder that Pasteur’s name is better known than any other scientist who has ever lived.

Louis Pasteur is a living reminder that anyone who wants to make a difference in life is bound to face bigotry and opposition.  The most narrow-minded usually turn out to be those who pretend to be the most open-minded and inclusive.  Pasteur was maligned as a murderer and a menace to science.  He was even challenged to a duel by an angry physician.

Dr Louis Pasteur1His ‘criminal’ behaviour was none other than publishing a pamphlet urging doctors to wash their hands before surgery and to sterilize their instruments.  Thirty percent of pregnant women in Paris were needlessly dying from infection during childbirth.  One grief-struck husband, whose wife had just died from childbirth fever, went on a rampage and shot his doctor dead.  Medical doctors rallied against Dr. Pasteur, blaming his pamphlet for the murder and claiming that Pasteur was making the practice of medicine unsafe for physicians and surgeons.  “Who did Pasteur think that he was?” They said. “He isn’t even a medical doctor…just a lowly chemist”.

The Emperor’s wife invited Pasteur to the French Court to explain his radical ideas.  Pasteur had the nerve to tell the Emperor that the hospitals of Paris were death houses, and that there was hardly a doctor who didn’t carry death on his hands.  After accurately predicting the death of the Emperor’s sister-in-law from childbirth infection, Pasteur was condemned as a fraud and banned by the Emperor from ever speaking out publicly again about medicine.

Having been banished into obscurity in the Dr Louis Pasteur2countryside of Arbois, Pasteur spent the next decade researching the causes of anthrax, the black plague ravaging the sheep across France.  Miraculously Pasteur invented an anthrax vaccine, which he gave freely to all farmers’ sheep in Arbois.

When the French government needed more sheep to pay the 5 million francs War indemnity to Germany, they came to Arbois to find out why Pasteur’s sheep were healthy.  Telling them of his vaccine, Pasteur was again mocked as a fool and charlatan by the Academy of Medicine.  Only after a rigorous test where infected Anthrax Blood was injected in 50 sheep, was Pasteur finally vindicated.  To everyone’s amazement, the only sheep that survived were the 25 sheep which Pasteur had injected with his vaccine.

Was Pasteur then accepted by the medical establishment?  Not on your life!  When Pasteur had the nerve to look for a rabies cure, again he was vilified and humiliated without mercy.  Pasteur was such a servant of all humanity that he even risked facing prison or guillotine to save the life of a rabies-infected ten-year old boy, Joseph Meister.  Joseph Meister was later made the caretaker of Pasteur’s tomb at the world-famous Pasteur Institute in Paris.  When the Nazis tried to force him to open Pasteur’s tomb in 1940, Joseph tragically committed suicide rather than defile the grave of his hero.

Dr Louis Pasteur3The ‘great physician’ Jesus once said that if anyone wants to be first, he must become the very last, and the servant of all.  Louis Pasteur was indeed the servant of all, who sacrificed his time, energy, and health so that others might live.  Pasteur selflessly taught that the benefits of science are not for the scientist, but for all of humanity.

Though he has saved millions of lives through his discoveries, Pasteur was unable to save the three out of his four daughters who died from typhoid fever.  In his unceasing striving to cure rabies, he suffered a crippling stroke at age 46.  Yet even that setback did not stop him from successfully finding a rabies cure.

Near the end of his life, Pasteur was finally honoured by the French Academy of Medicine.  He graciously said to them: ‘Doctors and scientists of the future, do not Dr Louis Pasteur4let yourselves be tainted by a barren skepticism nor discouraged by sadness of certain hours that creep over every nation.  Do not become angry at your opponents for no scientific theory has ever been accepted without opposition.’

In so many ways, Pasteur embodied the true meaning of Christ-likeness.  My prayer for those reading this article is that we may never let opposition embitter us as we seek to be the servants of all.

 

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, BSW, MDiv, DMin

-author of the award-winning book Battle for the Soul of Canada

-previously published in the Deep Cove Crier

for better for worse-Click to check out our newest marriage book For Better For Worse: discovering the keys to a lasting relationship on Amazon. You can even read the first two chapters for free to see if the book speaks to you.

 

-The sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback and ebook form. In Canada, Amazon.ca has the book available in paperback and ebook.

It is also posted on Amazon UK (paperback and ebook ), Amazon France (paperback and ebook), and Amazon Germany (paperback and ebook).

Restoring Health is also available online on Barnes and Noble in both paperback and Nook/ebook form.  Nook gives a sample of the book to read online.

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, 102-15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, Canada V4A 0A5.

– In order to obtain a signed copy of the prequel book Battle for the Soul of Canada, please send a $18.50 cheque to ‘Ed Hird’, #102-15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, Canada V4A 0A5. For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD.  This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail ed_hird@telus.net . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $4.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to purchase the Companion Bible Study by Jan Cox (for the Battle of the Soul of Canada) in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca