I will finish this utterly riveting read shortly (there is a large reference section!), and of the many things I am impressed by - even tho this not actually connected to this book is that Lister's triumphant revolution of hospital care had been established for good (in Edinburgh and Glasgow in any case) only 5 years before Arthur Conan Doyle started attending Edinburgh Uni. So, a) he might have met Lister (still in Edinburgh when ACD started his studies), and b) ACD's medical training really would have been one of the most advanced in Europe.
It was easier for Lister to convince doctors in Glasgow and Edinburgh of the value of his antiseptic system because each of those cities had one hospital and one university at its heart. London’s medical community was far more fragmented and less scientifically minded. Clinical teaching was not yet as common in the capital as it was in Scotland. Lister railed, “If I turn to London, and ask how instruction in clinical surgery is conducted there, I find that not only according to my own experience as a London student … but also from the universal testimony of foreigners who visit there and then come here, it is, when compared with our system here, a mere sham.” These were obstacles Lister could not overcome unless he could reform the system from within.
Oh, and then there was this one place...
Still, one nation remained unconvinced of the merits of Lister’s methods: the United States.
In fact, in several American hospitals, Lister’s techniques had been banned; many doctors saw them as unnecessary and overly complicated distractions because they had not yet accepted the germ theory of putrefaction. Even by the mid-1870s, understanding of wound care and infection had barely progressed, despite Lister’s theories and techniques appearing in American medical journals. The medical community had, for the most part, rejected his antiseptic methods as quackery.