Chandak Sengoopta

Hero of the Hernia

Digging Up the Dead: Uncovering the Life and Times of an Extraordinary Surgeon

By

Chatto & Windus 278pp £20 order from our bookshop

Surgery today may not always be safe, but it is no longer the bloody, insanitary and excruciating business it was two hundred years ago. Before the coming of anaesthesia and aseptic techniques, an operation often amounted to a death sentence on the patient. Complex internal operations were unimaginable in such unsanitary circumstances, and even the technically simpler forms of surgery could often be fatal because of shock and blood-loss. If the patient survived the operation, he was often killed by a post-operative infection.

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