Quote about Robert “Fastest Knife in the West End” Liston, pioneer surgeon from 17th century:
Although Liston was renowned for his success stories, he also developed a reputation for the flamboyancy of his surgical failures. For instance, his joy at amputating a patient´s leg at the thigh in less than three minutes was hindered greatly when he realized he had also inadvertently sawed of patient´s testicles.
And perhaps, most famously, another leg amputation performed in less than three minutes had the unfortunate result of killing three people: the patient (who survived the surgery but died of gangrene several days later); his young assistant (whose fingers he accidentally sawed off during surgery and who would also later succumb to gangrene); and “a distinguished surgical spectator” whose coattails Liston also slashed. The man, who found himself surrounded by geysers of blood, was so convinced that the knife had pierced his vitals that he immediately “dropped dead from fright”. It was later described as “the only operation in history with 300 percent mortality rate”
–Cristin O´Keefe Aptowicz: Dr. Mütter’s Marvels: A True Tale of Intrigue and Innovation at the Dawn of Modern Medicine
Robert Liston gives us good guiding light how to approach anything new:
- There is no framework when you are developing something from the scratch, you have to pave your own path.
- You cannot always avoid mistakes, but you can always be fast.
- If you experiment, it is better to saw other guy´s testicles than your own.