thumbnail of Torchbearers of science; No. 1 - Ambroise Pare
Hide -
If this transcript has significant errors that should be corrected, let us know, so we can add it to FIX IT+
From Marti f the French broadcasting system in Paris we present torchbearers of science. The first in a new series of programmes devoted to Francis pioneers in the field of scientific endeavor. Today Home was the first of a great surgeon. The strange destiny of on was Barry was summed up in a sonnet which the poet also wrote as a tribute to him to me. Did you get here if not for a few men to be able to heal and cure the misfortunes of our human race is to imitate God. The son of a humble family in level Brittany on Westbury was to become the most famous surgeon of his time at the beginning of the sixteenth century when medicine was ordered by the formal arguments of scholasticism. He fought his way to fame with his genius for
observation and practical medicine. He confronted the torturous letting commentaries of his colleagues with the clarity and accuracy of his discourse which he had the effrontery not to write in Latin. A self-made scholar he transform said Ray into a respectable science. For of that time it was frowned upon by the doctors and was practiced by barbers Perrier went out onto the battlefield to practice his science and his life had something of the turbulent existence of a great captain. His exact date of birth remains a mystery although many historians have put forward various suggestions. However it is probable that he was born somewhere around 15 17 in the little hamlet of Aix saw nearly about his father the humble Barber entrusted his education to the chaplain of Ossie.
It was my son. Would you want these two lives. And when you have finished you're going to go over the vegetable patch and feed my mule. Yes father I'll do it as quickly as possible so that I can get back to my book. And what are you reading my son. Surgical practice by the eagle. If God is willing and if I can learn enough then I should be a surgeon. But for the was the glorious road which led to surgery had first to pass through the humbler prospects of a kitchen. When he saw how little progress on the walls was making in the pursuit of the humanities his father packed him off to become a kitchen boy in the household of the Countess. But as he turned the roasting spit was continued to read translations of the ancients. At last he succeeded in securing a place as apprentice to a myth of yellow. The Count's ordinary barber and a few months later he left for Paris where he was to stay with his brother Paul. A box maker in the Who did I you shipped.
Face shop one day and fifteen thirty three was. You look so tired so pale. I just got back from the hospital. You can't imagine what it's like pull this epidemic is spreading like wildfire. The people have been pouring in all day long all with spots and we can't even hope to treat all of them. And you're still happy to go on fetching water and caring of course I am. But you see Paul working as a hospital attendant is the only way I can learn to be a surgeon. If I'd stayed in Laval why I'd still be shut up in some dingy hole listening to the complaints of my master. No I'd rather take care of those poor devils with the plague than spend my life sharpening knives trimming beards and and cooking wigs for the rest of his life. But hey remember disappointed ship. He even wrote about it some years later in his apology. I worked in the Paris hospital for three years and during this time I had the opportunity to see and learn many things about surgery and illnesses
and of course I was able to practice anatomy on a large number of dead bodies. As I have publicly stated at the School of Medicine. Home was a paper affected his art in the hard school of war. In the spring of 15 36 an agent of Francis the First was murdered by the henchmen of Duke's forts to get his revenge the king decided to invade the province of Milan. They also left for battle as surgeon to the singers of the module. The colonel of the infantry in the midst of the battle Padre writes to his father. We are encamped under the walls of the castle of the light and I am sick of this war. The other day in the stable I saw an old soldier cut the throat of three of his dying comrades. I hope that I shall never see such a sight again. And yet in another way I am happy for I have made what I think is an important discovery. Never again shall I use boiling oil in red hot irons for political ends. Yesterday I ran out of oil
and I decided to dress the wounds of a few men with a mixture of egg yolks Rosalee Flint and turpentine. This morning my patients were feeling well whereas those who had been treated normally were still in pain and feverish. Thanks to his professional qualities but also his kindness and cheerfulness about his reputation in the Army grew very rapidly in June 15 42. He married the daughter of a former wax warmer of Chancellor dupatta. However it was not long before he was off to the wars again. Mr de hole on his new employer was sent by the King of Britain made to fight off an English landing force and naturally was had to go with him. After the victory was took part in the village celebrations where he was soon accepted as the life and soul of the party. In 15 43 he found himself at the siege of Peppino. When the police act he's lying wounded in his tent.
Gentlemen. Is there anything you can do to stop the spin. I'm going to time. That's a bad rule. It's always the same with musket bullets. I feel the Duke will not last much longer. If he could discover where the bullet is a great. Gentleman sent for him. He's a skill for me. I saw him work at it give me. Your Grace. I am at your service. Would you get up from your bed. Is that. Good. That's fine. Now would you stand in the position you were in when you were hit. Here take this javelin and hold it as you would in battle. Come and look at it. There is the point. You just made a slight swelling under the shoulder of my. Gentleman I should leave you the task of
extracting the. Place discovery was important and for a long time afterwards surgeons had to rely on the principle of position to locate projectiles. He returned to France and began to write his discourse in which he set down his first impressions of military surgery. He criticise certain ridiculous practices in the field of therapy and destroyed the old belief that wounds were poisoned by bullets. In fifteen forty five he published the method of treating wounds caused by muskets and other firearms. It was his skill which saved the life of the Blong guy. The Duke has a terrible wound in his head. He was hit by an English Lance. The shaft sprinted but the lance head is still in the wind. Gentlemen I think we have agreed that this wound is fatal. The man's head into the cheek just below the right eye and penetrate it and they put the neck below the left as you can see the remains of
the shaft are still projecting some six inches from the cheek. I'm afraid there is nothing we can do. We would kill the Jews if we attempted to pull out the launch. So you would rather leave him to die. But who would dare to lay his hands on the Duke's face knowing he might kill him. I know I am not a surgeon in ordinary to the Duke diggings but as you abandon him I am the only surgeon he has Take care Master. If you fail your head will be in danger. Perhaps but let me work in peace. The surgeon then placed his knee on the Duke's chest took hold of the broken shaft and started to move it gently then a little harder. The Duke groaned in pain but a minute later the lens was loose and Perry was able to withdraw it from the wound. And an hour later. Are you sure that this wound will not affect my head of all my reason. I am sure of it your grace. But I am afraid that you will always have a scar like a saber cut. That there's nothing for warriors face. I should certainly not object to being called
Scarface. After this his fame was the talk of the country. Shortly afterwards he discovered the method of tying arteries with ligatures before then whenever an amputation was performed. Most days I was carried out with cauterizing irons which sometimes lead to fatal accidents. When a gentleman in the household of misuse the hall was wounded by a culverin he succeeded in amputating his leg without using boiling oil or red hot irons. Mr de love yeah and all of you gentlemen I would ask you to witness this experiment. I shall seal off the artery with this needle and look at you. There is no longer any need for the barbarous practice of red hot irons with my method hemorrhage is impossible. In the 16th century it was common for satisfied patients to reward their doctors with money jewelry and other objects of every description. Barry succeeded in satisfying many influential patients and became rich. He bought a
house in Paris in the hoodie on Dell and acquired a country residence at mid-on where for a time his parish priest was none other than a false one. He continued to write his disk will and started his voice but that he had still not finished with the walls when his master the harlot died his widow Isabel died but they recommended him to her brother in law. The King of Navarre who was then the dict of all don't let you quest for the Asked what with an army of thirty thousand men and accompanied him on to the battlefield where he worked unceasingly treating and saving countless numbers of wounded. The whole dome was so pleased with Pai that he had the unfortunate idea of boasting about him to King Henry the Second the king was so impressed that he asked the surgeon to enter the royal household. After this he was to devote the rest of his life to develop this.
But this did not mean that he had finished with the battlefield you know fifteen fifty to the town of Metz was besieged and he described it very vividly in his way yeah. Charles the Fifth of Germany and the Duke of Alva at the head of 26000 men had invested the town and they were becoming extremely dangerous. The besieged Garrison led by the DU Dougie's was without food and reinforcements and many of the soldiers were wounded at all costs for medical supplies. Go and remember. Success depends upon you getting through as soon as the king received this message he left for Metz with food medical supplies and money. He bribed an Italian captain to take him through the enemy lines. Violence is not very easy but I had the money or could reach in your
determination. To sort it out. Thank you Captain. Here are the fifteen hundred crowns I promised you not meaning it and a few minutes later here is my savior. Allow me to embrace you. We have more than a thousand wounded. But now that you arrived I can start to hope again. Gentlemen I propose a toast for your church and I got it. Oh your grace. I am deeply honored. And Noble well. I should look after your wounded as best I can. But I have every confidence that we shall carry the day. As I came through the enemy lines. I saw the Imperial trapped in the snow dying of cold hunger disease. Yes. Let us be generous and bring them help. I can refuse you nothing. Such is your wish. Strangely enough when he was nearly 40 the only rank which the greatest surgeon of the same tree
could claim was that of Baba. However in 15 53 on the suggestion of the king the colleges awarded him the title of Doctor of Medicine. The members of the learned counsel didn't take much of this upstart who gave a halting speech and who actually had to be prompted with his letter. The siege began again in a while and the king sent the message to be accompanied by the situation deteriorated rapidly. The town's leaders placed so much faith and pace opinions that they asked his advice. Do you think we can maintain our position much longer. Well to be quite frank I do not think we can hold out very long. We've lost too many men. You have asked for my opinion. I believe we must capitulate. And in July 15 53 they could be too late and hoping not to be recognized by the Spaniards bury disguised themselves in the tattered uniform of a soldier. He was taken prisoner and it was not long before he was recognized.
The Spaniards ordered him to take care of their wounded no woman. You have just saved Mr DeMarte from an apparently fatal. I've been hearing quite a lot about you in the way you gave an anatomy lesson the other day to our Spanish doctors strike a bargain with you. If you can cure the tumour in my leg then you are a free man. However disagreeable it may be for me to treat a man who has betrayed his country. I shall do what you say. I'm very anxious to regain my feet. A fortnight later his treatment was a success and he was allowed to return to France. The cattle company's East treaty put an end to all riflery between the houses of France and Austria in July 15 59 Mongomery fatally wounded the king at a tournament at the King's visor was torn off by the captain's lance and a splinter of the lats lodged in his head.
Henry the Second died in terrible pain 12 days after they could do nothing about the infection which reached the king's brain. Francis the second succeeded to the throne at the age of 15 but only a few months later he died of meningitis. A group of jealous curteous started a rumor that on was Barry had killed the young king by pouring poison into his ear. The queen mother Catherine de Medicis answered this rumor by nominating a surgeon in ordinary to Charles and 9th in January 15th 62. Barry took his oath at the sound the Protestants had taken to arms and day after delivering the vote to the English was threatening Paris but he went off to battle again with a duty to gaze at the wall and wonder Bobo was struck in the shoulder with a musket ball. Who was. Was.
Gentlemanly. The prince's recovery depends upon your skill. But. In all sincerity. Do you. Think that his wound is fatal. It is a serious Your Majesty but it is by no means fake. Of course within a fortnight the suitable boy will be able to write again. Your Majesty. I am not used to hiding the truth or nourishing false illusions. A bullet is lodged in the magnetic canal of the humerus within three weeks. The King of Navarre. He did. Only on the whole what nonsense was your fight. But 18 days later your Majesty it is with sorrow that I must inform you. That the Prince of Noble has just died. It was the book. That had penetrated the bone cavity of the upper on the exact reason you didn't. Miss your pathway. You are an honest man and a good surgeon.
Henceforth. Used to be the king's first surgeon. In fifteen sixty four pay a company Charles the ninth and the queen mother on a tour of inspection in the provinces. During the journey he was given the responsibility of continuing the education of the young king and he carried out his job conscientiously whenever possible. He consulted local doctors and discussed medical practice with them thus in no see. He learned from the doctor the hand surgeon the art and method of treating dislocations by means of a ladder extension and to stick. In fault and blow the king fell ill after being bled by a clumsy bubur and paté cured him with lead clusters. He described this treatment in the eighth book of true knowledge of surgery.
15 69 was to be his last battle. After a hard fight to don't beat the army of the local to me. But the Army of the prince suffered severe losses and many wounded and ballet became indispensable. The king who was grown very fond of his surgeon finally agreed to let him go and it was thus that on was ballet arrived in a new to treat le marquis devil a prominent member of the family who'd been wounded in the knee. Perry succeeded in curing the Marquis and to express his satisfaction and gratitude. The Marquis held a great feast in his honor. Now I return to Paris where he often had occasion to speak with the king. My dear I'm greatly pleased to see you've returned safely. I hear your treatment of miss your dad was a great success. Tell me a little part sire. You cannot cure a patient if he does not want to get well. I must say that the
Marquis helped me greatly. However I must admit that I am somewhat proud of his cure. I brought you my book and the last chapter tells of it. Read it to me Monsieur about I I should like to hear it. My therapy recommends the knife for abscesses medicine for mentation and whiteman's. But also violins and vials to encourage the patient. What a way to cure maladies. But hear me bury my good friend let me say something which may save you your life. You have a lot of enemies. Some of them claim that your a bad Catholic and even that you ought to have a tick. You must be very careful what you say to sire. I thank you for this advice and I shall he did. And the King's advice was not without foundation. If we are to believe part own I only escaped the horrors of St. Bartholomew's night by hiding in the King's wardrobe.
On the thirty first of May 15 74 attended the funeral of Charles the knife who according to him died because he ruined his weak lungs blowing in a hunting horn and bombed the body of the king according to the following method which is found in his book surgery fairly heavy a spray of spices Rosewater chemical mint sage lavender time absent Cyprus Genndy and Iris Musk cinnamon Benjamin Mee sandal bitter apple. I don't think I've forgotten anything. The royal body still emits a stench. Now it must be the tortoise and the third kept Barry as his first surgeon and also made him his valet. The great honor in
those days and his adviser about his wife died leaving a 13 year old daughter and two months later married exactly new and over the next nine years conceived six children. The last one being born when he was 73. But his enemies were still as active as ever. The first edition of his writings brought down the wrath of the faculty. The matter was taken before the High Court with a lawyer Schauffler pleading for the faculty. I read that the books office and puffed up should precede them but I know my wife Patty isn't pretty sure if it has been over his doctrine from the insurance. His book sudden attack on public decency have open the references to old NPR for something you were involved there. Oh the real reason why the doctors and the surgeons complain about my book. Is that it is written in French which means that everybody can understand it
was flushed up to this. I'm frightened. That their patients will no longer consult them. And the sentence here is that the bombers who speak no Latin will now be able to carry out the operation. However I do not believe that my book can be harmful because it is written in common that hypocrisy is used the everyday language of his time. That's what I said and so if I have written this book it was with the intention of instructing the young scientists not to encourage the medical doctors. And the ambitious sawbones. Even if it was written in French. Finally the king took a hand in the affair and the whole matter was forgotten. However about his later years were troubled by ceaseless calumny which he always managed to surmount was stubbornness and his own brand of talent. He published a reply to the calumny of old doctors concerning my books and then in fifty nine hundred to a treatise concerning mummies poisons the Unicorn and the plague.
A little later a reply to the attacks against a treatise of the unicon and finally in 15 85. He is gone the pollution in this last book he replied to the criticisms of Google Miller the dean of the faculty who had attacked his method of telling the arteries after amputation. Here is how they work and I have published this apology so that everyone will know what I have always thought. I do not think that any honest man can do not buy what I have said because I have shown nothing but the truth. Logic must remain my sole defense against calumny or note by a strenuous and active life. He was forced to remain indoors during his old age and he was too feeble to move. When Henry the Second was assassinated in 15 87 he drew up his last will and testament in 15 90. Henry is now besieged Paris.
What has the man from beyond rotted the. Henrys Cavalry has just defeated my end on me as easily and his soldiers are advancing on Paris. He's already taken all the castles around the capital. But. My husband. Do not Ri-Ri yourself with politics. You must rest and save your strength. I have no longer much time to worry about myself. I think Henry of Navarre would be a good king. We have seen too many wars. But now perhaps France will know peace. As for me my affairs are in order. I know that I have always done my best to avoid human suffering. You have been the greatest surgeon of our time. I only applied the bandages. It was God who healed. And yet my dear wife. I shall leave
this world with many things undone. There are still more things to be found than that have yet been found. We must not rest on the laurels of the ancients. They did not know everything. But they can help us to greater things. On the 22nd of December 15 90 on was back he was buried in the church of Santa on the ideas out. He died an anatomist a naturalist a teetotaller just an obstetrician a demo tala just a medical lawyer a toxicologist and last but not least a remarkable writer without being a humanist in the classical sense of the word. Although many reproached him for being this we might say that he took an interest in everything which was human to find greater things. That was surely the slogan of the surgeon Betty.
Please note: This content is only available at GBH and the Library of Congress, either due to copyright restrictions or because this content has not yet been reviewed for copyright or privacy issues. For information about on location research, click here.
Torchbearers of science
No. 1 - Ambroise Pare
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
If you have more information about this item than what is given here, or if you have concerns about this record, we want to know! Contact us, indicating the AAPB ID (cpb-aacip/500-vx062n3j).
No description available
Media type
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 4977 (University of Maryland)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:28:42
If you have a copy of this asset and would like us to add it to our catalog, please contact us.
Chicago: “Torchbearers of science; No. 1 - Ambroise Pare,” University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed August 12, 2022,
MLA: “Torchbearers of science; No. 1 - Ambroise Pare.” University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. August 12, 2022. <>.
APA: Torchbearers of science; No. 1 - Ambroise Pare. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from