Robert Liston and the surgery with a 300% mortality rate

Robert Liston was a British surgeon in the 19th century who was noted for his speed and skill in an era prior to anaesthetics, when speed made a difference in terms of pain and survival. In his most famous case, he amputated a leg in under 2.5 minutes, but the patient died afterwards from gangrene (not uncommon in those days). As a result of his desire for speed, Liston also amputated two fingers of his young assistant (who also later died from gangrene). And he slashed through the coattails of a distinguished surgical spectator, who was so terrified — thinking that the knife had pierced his vitals — that he fainted from fright, and was later discovered to have died from shock.

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