Due to the creation of one product, that death rate was drastically reduced. Strange how just a single product can change the direction of medical procedure.
Listerine was developed by Dr. Joseph Lawrence, based on pioneering work done by Joseph Lister, whom he named it after. It wasn’t intended for oral use however—it was simply an antiseptic, and the first one. Before Lister’s discovery that carbolic acid killed germs, far more people died from infections incurred during surgery than from the injuries themselves (illustrated by a saying from the time: “The operation was a success, but the patient died.”)
Consider: since nobody knew how to stop infections before Lister, amputations (to keep them from spreading) were the most common major surgery of the time, and the death rate from this procedure was around forty percent. By the time Listerine had been in use for about twenty five years, in 1910, the death rate from amputations had dropped to a measly three percent. One shudders to think how many more who were injured in World War I (still the one of the deadliest wars of all time) would have died if not for Listerine.
Because carbolic acid is hard on the skin, surgeons eventually began using boracic acid in its place. But Listerine’s use had been growing as an oral antiseptic, and eventually that use eclipsed any other. The mouthwash market was originated by Listerine, the only product (with the possible exception of the condom) to both save millions of lives and make date night more awesome!
I think we often forget that early medicine was, at best, primitive by today's standards. Often the tireless work of one or two dedicated people can really make a difference in the quality of care! The lives of so many folks have been affected in a positive manner by just such a development!
Coffee out on the patio this morning. Looking more like Spring everyday!