34. “The Fastest Knife in the West End”
Dr. Robert Liston was a surgeon known for his speed. In the days before anesthetics, an ability to operate speedily was a decided plus. It meant that patients spent less time enduring excruciating pain as a surgeon cut into them. It also increased the odds of survival, lessening the odds of patients going into shock, as well as reducing the time in which their vitals were exposed to germs and other vectors of infection.
Dr. Liston was famous for being able to complete operations in a matter of seconds, and amputate a leg in just two and a half minutes. Unsurprisingly, chances for a mistake were pretty high.