Paré, Ambroise 1510–1590 French Surgeon
The most famous surgeon of the 1500s, Ambroise Paré introduced a number of changes in the art of surgery, such as the use of salve to treat wounds. He shared his knowledge with his colleagues through illustrated case histories drawn from his experiences on military campaigns and his medical practice in Paris. Paré's writings, which combined modern and ancient knowledge, had a great influence on the development of surgery.
Paré received training as a barber-surgeon—a profession that, at the time, was separate from the rest of medicine and held a lower status. Around 1533 he became the resident surgeon at the main hospital in Paris. Paré spent much of his career as an army surgeon, accompanying the French military on campaigns over a 30-year period. He also enjoyed royal favor, serving as a court surgeon for several kings.
One of the most readable of Renaissance medical writers, Paré had a great breadth of experience and knowledge. He wrote on surgical techniques as well as anatomy, poisons, and many other medical topics. He was also famous for his invention of artificial noses, tongues, hands, and iron legs. Royal patronage* helped promote Paré's ideas, as well as protect him from attacks by critics. His success served as an example of how a low-status barber-surgeon could achieve both learning and honor.
(See alsoMedicine. )
- * patronage
support or financial sponsorship