MODERN SURGICAL DRESSINGS.
BY F. B. KILMER.
The surgical dressings in use at the present time by such practitioners as keep pace with the advancement of the surgical art are the products of the practical application of scientific knowledge
They are the outcome of the modifications and amplification of procedures that have been brought
about in the evolution of surgical science.
Dr. Wm. Pepper states that “medicine and surgery have made more progress in the last twenty years than in the twenty centuries preceding.” This statement may also be applied to the surgical In the dawn of the present era of surgery, the teachings of Lister demanded that the dressings to be applied to a wound should be saturated with chemicals capable of killing germs “within the wound or coming from without.” During this epoch antiseptics were empirically applied. A dressing that promised sure death to the microbe was in demand. In those days cloth was plastered with masses of pitch, paraffin fat and carbolic acid. The products were unclean—sticky, irritating and non-absorptive — directly the opposite to those in use at the present time. Crude as was this beginning, it contained the “living spark of truth that illuminated the mysterious darkness which for centuries hovered over wound infection.” It brought blessings that “have soothed and removed untold suffering and misery — have saved millions of lives. For this gift to surgery we are indebted to Sir Joseph Lister.”— Gerster. During the decades that have followed the time of which we speak, the forward progress of the principles of antisepsis has been continuous.