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Ambroise Par.
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Ambroise Par.

Ambroise Par (15101590) was a French surgeon, the official royal surgeon for kings Henry II, Francis II, Charles IX and Henry III, and a leader in surgical techniques, especially the treatment of wounds.

Par was born in Bourg en Hersent, near Laval in Mayenne.

Par was a major figure of surgery in the 16th century. After his apprenticeship at the Htel-Dieu in Paris between 1533 and 1536, he soon became a military surgeon during the campaigns in Italy. In this occasion, he discovered a remedy against the pain of the wounded by firearms. Much of Par's experience with wounds was acquired on the battlefield.

In 1545 and 1553, he published the first and second editions of his treatise on the treatment of wounds by firearms and arrows, considered a milestone of surgical art. In 1561, Par published his universal anatomy of the human body. Par published other scholarly treatises on the treatment of wounds and illnesses.

Ambroise Par substituted egg yolk and turpentine for boiling oil and introduced the ligature of arteries in lieu of cauterization during amputation.

He was also an important figure in the progress of obstetrics in the middle of the 16th century. He revived the operation of podalic version and showed how, by means of it, surgeons could often rescue an infant even in cases of head presentation, instead of breaking it up and extracting it piecemeal. He was ably seconded by his pupil Guillemeau, who translated his work into Latin, and at a later period himself wrote a treatise on midwifery, an English translation of which was published in 1612 with the title Child Birth; or, The Happy Deliverie of Women.

A collection of his works was published at Paris in 1575, and they were afterwards frequently reprinted. Several editions have appeared in German and Dutch, and among the English translations was that of Thomas Johnson (1665).

Quotation

  • "I administered the treatment, but nature provided the cure."

Related links

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