How did Ambroise Pare contribute to the field of neuroscience and surgery?

Answer: Pare was a surgeon who served under several kings of France in the 1500s, including Henry II and Francis II.

ambroise pare head injury

Born in 1510 in France, Ambroise Pare became a battlefield surgeon who became adept at treating traumatic injuries. At the time, surgery was not a classified as a medical discipline. The prevailing thought was that a proper physician would not inflict injuries that caused blood to be spilled, and so the job of surgery was relegated to barbers.

Unlike his colleagues and in opposition to the general thought of the day, Pare believed in evidence rather than blindly following the established dogma. During Pare’s early career, he worked on the battlefield to treat the injured. The standard treatment for battlefield injuries was to use boiling oil and cauterization. Pare decided instead to create a mixture of other ingredients for treating the same injuries. His mixture contained egg yolks, rose oil, and turpentine. He would then apply this new salve on the injured site on some of his patients, while using the standard of treatment for other patients. As it turns out, turpentine is an antiseptic which prevented the injuries from becoming infected. The injured patients Pare treated had a better outcome compared to those treated in the traditional method. From there, he started refining his recipe slightly in order to produce the best effects. By carefully taking notes and recording his observations, he was an early practitioner of the scientific method.

Although he was a significant innovator in the field of medicine at large, one of his major contributions to the field of brain science was when he treated the severe head injury of King Henry II in 1559. King Henry II was hosting a jousting tournament to celebrate the end of the Eighth Italian War when he insisted on jousting more than the rules allow. During the joust, his opponent, Gabriel Montgomery, shattered his lance on the king’s shield when a large fragment when straight into the helmet of the King and straight into his eye. After falling off his horse, the King stood up but experienced difficulty. He likely suffered a concussion. 11 days later, the King died.