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The Dark Ages

Ambroise Pare (1510-1590)

Ambroise Pare was a French Barber Surgeon. Ambroise Pare was born of poor parents, at Laval, France. Pare received his early education from a parish priest, and then went on to be an apprentice to a Barber Surgeon for 13 years. His first real position was “Resident Dresser” at the Paris Hotel Dieu, which at the time rivalled any teaching hospital in Europe for its reputation in surgery.
If the question is; what did Ambroise Pare do for Renaissance surgery? The answer is easy, he raised it from a despised, horrid even ghastly craft to a profession that gave it professional standing.

His example at the sharp end (no pun intended) and his superb manuscripts taught many of his colleagues and pupils toward a more scientific and humane approach to surgery. He alone can be said of to have elevated the art of surgery to a respectable level.
In 1536 he joined the French Army. Some months after joining he took part in his first campaign, at Turin.
During the bloody battle of Turin, Pare was greatly disturbed by the suffering of the wounded. After entering the city he went into a stable to rest, feed and water his horse. What he saw when entering the stable were several lifeless soldiers on the floor.

There were also three wounded propped against the wall. Their faces were completely disfigured. They could not see, hear or speak and their clothes were still smouldering from the gunpowder that had scorched them. 
While Pare was trying to comfort the retched wounded, a soldier walked in and asked Pare if it was at all possible for him to cure them, to that a sad Pare replied
“no”. The soldier then walked over to the three wounded men, and calmly slit their throats.
Pare rebuked the man calling him a
"cowardly villain". The soldier answered him by saying:

“I pray to God that if ever I was in such a state as those poor fellows, that someone would do the same to me so that I would not suffer as they did.”

During Pares career with the French army, he observed that when he treated patients with gunshot wounds by using the conventional treatment at the time, which was to pour boiling oil into the wound, the patients endured unbelievable agony, some died in agony. Pare was very distraught to see these brave helpless souls being put through such torture, and the echo of their agonising screams used to haunt him, and give him nightmares.

Quote 47

"Cure occasionally, relieve often, console always". 118




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