Ernst Von Bergmann
German Surgeon known for Sterilization of Surgical Instruments Monday, May 24, 2010
Intrudoction to the Surgical Environment
Instructor: Javier Espinales
Paper Written by: Walter Pacheco
My Paper is about a Baltic- German surgeon named, Ernst Von Bergmann. Dr. Bergmann was Born on December 1836 Riga, Russian Baltic Provinces. He is known as the first surgeon to use heat to sterilize surgical instruments. Dr. Bergmann came from a religious family. His father was a Lutheran Pastor in Rujen, Livonia. His mother was a refugee from an epidemic in Riga, thus Ernst Von Bergmann being born in the city where his mother was a refugee.
Ernst Von Bergmann tried to enter the Theological faculty,trying to follow his father’s steps but The Czar did not give him permission, so he signed up with the medical faculty of the Germano-Russian University of Dorpat in 1854. Six years later he graduated. He visited Hospitals for the following three years, learning and finally he settled down in Dorpat as a Clinical Assistant. Three years later he volunteered to the Prussian and Austrian war where he continued to learn all things surgery. The war gave him invaluable knowledge in the surgery field. After the war, Dr. Bergmann went back to Dorpat. Later, he went on becoming what the Germans call: Chef-Artz in different base hospitals during the Franco-German War of 1870-1871. Later on the same year, he became a proffessor of surgery in Dorpat.
In the spring of 1877 Russia declared war on Turkey and guess where Dr. Bergmann went? He offered his expertice and became a surgent consultant to the Army. This war gave him the opportunity to treat the wounded under better conditions all due to the Baltic Hospital of the Red Cross where he adopted Lister’s antiseptic methods for the first time. Thus amputation became impractical due to the wider maneuvers of war. Ernst Von Bergmann had written about the impracticalities of amputation and with Lister’s antiseptic methods, the casualties of battle wounds had drasticaly been reduced. As stated by “ Statistics from the American Civil War that of 1000 gunshot wounds of the knee-joint area, 837 died, of 1000 gunshot wounds of the elbow area, 194 died. Bergmann dressed 15 cases of gunshot fractures involving the knee-joint area, and for the first time, thirty to sixty hours after the injury, by thoroughly exploring and cleaning the wound and joint, using 5% carbolic acid as fluid, 8 healed without pus, in 7 cases there was pus, in 2 only a little pus and in 5 it was still severe and prolonged. 2 dressed forty-eight and sixty hours after wounding underwent secondary amputation through the thigh and recovered. One dressed forty-eight hours after the injury, suffered from pyaemia, ( a diseased state in which pyogenic bacteria are circulating in the blood, characterized by the development of abscesses in various organs) underwent secondary amputation, and died. There was much limitation of movement in all the healed cases. Among a more inclusive number of 59, 30 healed, 2 after secondary amputations; 24 died, 9 of whom had been amputated. and 5 cases they lost sight of the patients. Not very good odds by today’s standards but for that time, this was an advancement both in respect to the saving of life, and not having to amputate limbs.
After a severe dysentery complicated by Pyaemia, he accepted the possition of Proffessor of Surgery at Würzburg in Octuber of 1878 where he gave a speech on “The Treatment of Gunshot Wounds of the Knee-joint in War”. He stayed in Würzburg untill 1882. After Würzburg, he became a professor of surgery at theUniversity of Klinik in Berlin, this placed him in the highest rank of German surgeons.
Later Ernst Von Bergmann together with his assistant experimented with different ways of sterilizing surgical instruments. Idea he got from Koch’s report on the effects of sublimate in destroying anthrax bacteria, Bergmann substituted for carbolic acid the use...
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