ContributionProposed that air-borne microscopic organisms cause post-surgical wound infection and sepsis.
NotesThomas Spenser Wells proposed in impressive detail his concept of the role of airborne microorganisms in suppuration and sepsis, drawing on Pasteur's reports of their role in fermentation and putrefaction. It has been said that his opinion was based on knowledge of microscopic helminths, fungi of skin disease, and Davaine's anthrax bacteria, as well as the findings of Trousseau and of Pasteur. Wells did not test the hypothesis, or use it to practical advantage, as Lister was to begin doing in the following year. According to Fisher, biographer of Lister, Lister was apparently unaware of Wells' report at the time of his first antiseptic trials. According to Worboys, Trousseau had linked microorganisms to puerperal sepsis before the report by Wells. Wells' proposition was expounded in a lecture and recorded in the British Medical Journal in the same year.
Pathogen ClassBacteria

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