The “Fastest Knife in the West End”

In a time before anesthesia, Dr Robert Liston was a fine surgeon because he was fast

Photo by Jenny O’Donnell

From The Atlantic, October 24, 2012:

Imagine lying on a table in a old-school operating room. Faces stare down at you from the viewing galleries above, and your leg throbs with pain from a broken bone — infection is just starting to set in. The door opens and three men in blood-stiffened aprons walk in, carting a collection of knives and saws. Two of them grab your shoulders and arms and pin you to the table. The third picks out one of the knives from the cart.

“Time me, gentlemen,” he calls out to the gathered spectators. “Time me.”

Read the full article here.


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