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was the first naturally-occurring antibiotic discovered - and the first to be used therapeutically An antibiotic is any substance produced by a microorganism which can kill or inhibit the growth of a different microorganism We now call such substances and any similarly-acting substances which humans design chemotherapeutic agents Before we begin to talk specifically about penicillin it will be useful to kind of place you in the life and times of people in the 1800s During this time no one had any idea about anesthetics pain-killers and only limited ideas of how diseases were generated There were no antiseptics there was no such thing as sterile conditions - instruments used in one surgery were simply re-used without any particular cleaning for the next surgery Although Pasteur and Koch had clearly shown the connection between disease and bacteria and by 1800 people were already receiving vaccinations against smallpox Jenner not very many people placed too high of an opinion on this work One person did - Joseph Lister - credited for introducing antiseptic surgical procedures Lister based his work on studies by Semmelweiss Semmelweis documented association of sepsis meaning putrefaction in hospitals - particularly birth mothers - with certain surgeons Back then the more prominent the surgeon the more filthy the lab coat the surgeon wore blood fluids etc were left on the coat - was a mark of distinction since the reasoning was that if a surgeons lab coat was covered with dried blood and the like then the more surgeries operations this person performed then in order to be so busy to get such a filthy lab coat he had to have many patients and the more patients meant the better he must be at surgery and therefore the more prominent Personally Ill take a Mercedes over a filthy lab coat as a measure of surgical expertise any day Semmelweiss noticed that if certain prominent surgeons delivered babies these were all-around
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