- Paré, Ambroïse
- (ca. 1509-1590)French surgeon, known as an innovator in surgical treatment of wounds and also as the author of a large number of treatises on surgery, anatomy, and other medical top-ics. Although trained by apprenticeship rather than by academic study and unable to write in the Latin of accepted medical literature, he demonstrated such broad mastery, combining classical knowledge with his own experience, that even many university-trained physi-cians respected his learning. This did not prevent an attack on him by the Paris faculty of medicine in 1575 for the offense of writing on medical subjects in the vernacular.In the early 1530s, shortly after he had been apprenticed at Paris, Paré became surgeon at the main hospital in the city, but his greatest reputation was as a military surgeon, beginning in 1536 with an ap-pointment to accompany a French army to Italy. He introduced sev-eral revolutionary changes into surgical practice, including abandon-ment of the practice of cauterizing gunshot wounds with boiling oil, for which he substituted the use of salves. He also quit cauterizing amputations with red-hot iron or boiling oil, for which he substituted the use of ligatures to tie off blood vessels, a practice already used in antiquity. He introduced new techniques of treating dislocations of limbs. Paré's innovations were so obviously successful in reducing the death rate among wounded soldiers that he gained the protection of leading generals and four kings of France whom he served as prin-cipal surgeon (1552-1589).His published works, though written in French, were successful because they combined a broad base of medical knowledge with spe-cific references to his own experience. His book on treating wounds caused by firearms (1545) was widely used by European armies, and his Dix livres de la chirurgerie / Ten Books on Surgery (1564) spread news of his success with the use of ligatures. Paré's collected works were published in French in 1575 and later translated into Latin, Dutch, German, and English.
Historical Dictionary of Renaissance. Charles G. Nauert. 2004.