BLTC Research logo

Ambroise Paré
(c.1510 - 1591)

picture of Ambroise Paré

"I dressed him, and God healed him."
The Journey to Turin (1537)
Ambroise Paré

Until the anaesthetic revolution, a surgeon's prowess was typically measured by the time he took to operate. Around 1564, French military surgeon and amputation specialist Ambroise Paré wrote of how the tourniquet "much dulls the sense of the part by stupefying it". Few patients experienced outright stupefaction from his technique of compression; but sometimes their torment was diminished.

For amputations, Paré rejected standard surgical practice: plunging the limb to be amputated into boiling elder oil mixed with treacle. Instead, Paré revived the old Roman custom of using ligature prior to amputation. This greatly reduced bleeding and shock.

Paré believed in witches and devils, but he unfailingly credited his successes to God.


Utopian Surgery
Refs and Further Reading
Anaesthesia and Anaesthetics