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Redeeming Mr. Sawbone: compassion and care in the cultures of nineteenth-century surgery

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

Article number13
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>29/11/2017
<mark>Journal</mark>Journal of Compassionate Health Care
Number of pages7
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


To complicate understandings of the emotions involved in the surgical encounter.

I draw on an extensive body of historical material to demonstrate the importance of compassion and sympathy to the professional identities and experiences of early nineteenth-century British surgeons and use this information to reflect on what lessons can be learned for contemporary practice.

This research demonstrates that compassion and sympathy for the patient were a vital part of surgery in the decades immediately preceding the introduction of anaesthesia in the 1840s and that they played a vital role in shaping the professional identity of the surgeon.

This research suggests that we might develop more complex and inclusive ways of thinking about the doctor-patient relationship in surgery and that we can draw on the experiences of the past to ensure that we take compassion seriously as a vital element of the intersubjective clinical encounter.