Jannis Delaan - October 23, 2019

Blood letting dentists

It was in 1540 when barbers and surgeons united to form a company with the uninspiring name 'The United Barber-Surgeons Company'. For centuries their main procedures where mainly along the line of tooth extractions and blood letting. With an apparent passion for incising in and resecting from the human body as well as the clear objective to relief pain and healing mankind. Even though to cure was often as bad if not worse than the cause.

With a broad experience in blood letting it won’t come as a surprise that in the early 1800’s one of the first notable documented milestones in the history of surgery was in fact a blood transfusion.

You've come a long way, surgeon

Happy patients, happy doctors

When you realize that the first use of ether as an anesthetic was only in 1843 and became more widely used a couple of years after, you can only imagine the amount of pain that was induced to patients. Truly horrifying to think about. And surgeons too, were tormented by the horrors of the operating theater. Dr. John Warren of Massachusetts General Hospital once wrote;

'What surgeon is there, who has not felt, while witnessing the distress of long painful operations, a sinking of the heart, to which no habit could render him insensible! What surgeon has not in these times been inspired with a wish to find some means of lessening the sufferings he was obliged to inflict!'

Fortunately the second half of the nineteenth century boosted the profession in many ways. Surgeons started to understand the relation between death, infections and especially the prevention of it.

We owe a lot to Joseph Lister and his Antiseptic Principle in the Practise of Surgery as well as his use of carbolic acid onto incisions.


The new gained knowledge and improved insights of this time also marked a rapid development of a wider variety of surgical procedures and in the history timeline it kicked off progressive surgical evolution. The milestones started to follow each other up faster and with more successful outcomes than ever before.

Dark history, bright future

Nowadays it’s hard to imagine the operating theatre from the past. Even if it's only one lifetime ago as it differs so immensely from where we are today. And although the history of surgery is fascinating the future may be even more so.

With digital means, robotic surgery and even virtual reality entering the world of surgery we have landed in a different surgical era all together. 

There’s no telling where exactly it all will lead us, but one thing's for sure, the world has become smaller and information travels faster than ever before. There is tremendous surgical knowledge available in our present time yet somehow this knowledge isn’t always so easy to come by. Apart from the actual information sources being fractured is also proves quite challenging to filter out the information that suits the individual needs. Every era has its own challenges and for every challenge new solutions arise.

Today the eager or even weary surgeon is treated to a solution that allows them to tap into the wealth of worldly knowledge and practicality the planet possesses today.
PONSIST provides surgeons with the opportunity to learn and share best practices, personal experiences or the latest insights, because sharing knowledge improves wisdom.

History repeatedly taught us that the transfer of knowledge and insights is the way forward. It worked then and it still works now.

Take a moment to apply for acces and join the worlds first unsponsored and non commercial Global Surgical Society.
After all, no matter what our future holds, progress will always depend on people sharing their personal knowledge and expertise with other people.

PONSIST is an initiative of Alinda Jansen to support all surgical specialists of our time by providing them a unique enviroment to distribute individual knowledge and insights amongst their peers.

Surgeons are invited to join the worlds first Global Surgical Society by applying for access.


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