1510 – 1590
Who was Ambroise Paré?
Ambroise Paré was a French barber surgeon who served in that role for kings Henry II, Francis II, Charles IX and Henry III. He is considered one of the fathers of surgery and modern forensic pathology and a pioneer in surgical techniques and battlefield medicine, especially in the treatment of wounds. He was also an anatomist and invented several surgical instruments.
In his personal notes about the care he delivered to Captain Rat, in the Piémont campaign, Paré wrote: "Je le pansai, Dieu le guérit ". This epitomises a philosophy that he used throughout his career. At this time, little could be done for battlefield wounds and injured soldiers were often put out of their misery by comrades if the wound was too severe to be treated. During the 1536 Battle of Milan, Paré encountered two men who had been horribly burned by gunpowder. A soldier came up and asked if anything could be done to help them, to which he shook his head. The soldier then calmly took out his dagger and proceeded to cut their throats. A horrified Paré shouted that he was "a villain", to which he was told "Were I in such a situation, I would only pray to God for someone to do the same for me."
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