The Surgeon's Glove: A Centennial

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Abstract

Summary

Baltic cranial surgery pioneer Ernst von Bergmann (1X36–1907) showed a lifelong interest in identifying the cause of postoperative infectious complications and in searching for remedies. Above all. he insisted on long and meticulous scrubbing of the surgeon's hands. Baltic-Estonian surgeon Werner Zoege von Manteuffel (1857–1926) strongly advocated the use of boiled rubber gloves in surgical practice. Zoege, a pivotal figure in advancing the development of the ‘“boiled rubber-gloved hand” in surgery, described in 1897 the use of boiled rubber gloves with the specific aim of offering protection from the surgeon's bare hands. In 1890, American surgeon William Halsted began using rubber gloves to protect his scrub nurse's hands from a dermatitis. He later admitted that he was surprised it took such a long a time for anyone, including himself, to realize the importance of rubber gloves to offer protection against secondary contamination.

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