Whenever your mind wanders back to the Edwardian era, spare a thought for Lord Lister and Sir Frederick Treves. Old Bertie would not have made his coronation without them.
Lord Lister, the Pioneer Surgeon who saved the Edwardian Era
King Edward VII came down with appendicitis two days before his coronation. The surgeons did not dare operate without consulting Britain's leading surgical authority. The king later told Lister, "I know that if it had not been for you and your work, I wouldn't be sitting here today."
Edward's coronation of 9 August 1902 had originally been scheduled for 26 June, but two days before on 24 June, Edward was diagnosed with appendicitis. Thanks to developments by Lord Lister in anaesthesia and antisepsis in the preceding 50 years, he underwent a life-saving operation, performed by Sir Frederick Treves.
This was at a time when appendicitis was generally not treated operatively and carried a high mortality rate. Treves, with the support of Lord Lister, performed a then-radical operation of draining the infected appendix through a small incision. The next day, Edward was sitting up in bed, smoking a cigar. Two weeks later, it was announced that the King was out of danger. Treves was honoured with a baronetcy (which Edward had arranged before the operation) and appendix surgery entered the medical mainstream.