How Robert 'The Fastest Knife in the West End' Liston Conducted a Surgery With a 300% Mortality Rate


'The Operation', by Italian painter Gaspare Traversi c.1722-1770. Photo by Leemage / UIG via Getty Images

It's no secret that hospitals can be intimidating, scary places -- but the medical operations of the modern day can't hold a candle to the grisly procedures of the 1800s. Back then, even some of the best surgeons still had about a one in ten chance of their patients dying during or shortly after a procedure. And Robert Liston was no exception. Listen in to learn how this otherwise top-notch surgeon managed to kill not only his patient, but also his assistant and some guy just standing nearby all in the course of one procedure gone horribly wrong.