Dr. Howard Markel revisits moments that changed the course of modern medicine, like
the advent of antiseptic surgery, in a monthly column on the PBS NewsHour. Photo by
Philippe Huguen/AFP/Getty Images.
Today, every patient reasonably expects that before going “under the knife,” the surgeon
will ensure that all the necessary instruments, as well as every other aspect of the operating room and those in it, will be scrupulously clean and sterile.
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