The Lister Medal is an award presented by the Royal College of Surgeons of England in recognition of contributions to surgical science. It is named after the English surgeon Joseph Lister (1827-1912), whose work on antiseptics established the basis of modern sterile surgery.
The medal has its origins in the Lister Memorial Fund, started by the Royal Society, which was raised by public subscription after Lister's death, with the object of creating a lasting mark of respect to his memory. In 1920, the Royal College of Surgeons of England became the trustees and administrators of the fund. They were entrusted with the task of awarding a monetary prize and a bronze medal (gold since 1984) every three years, irrespective of nationality, to those who had made outstanding contributions to surgical science. The triennial award is decided by a committee representing the Royal Society, the Royal College of Surgeons of England, the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, the University of Edinburgh, and the University of Glasgow.
The Lister Medal, although it is not always awarded to a surgeon, is one of the most prestigious honours a surgeon can receive. The obverse of the medal consists of a representation of a bust of Lord Lister. The reverse side has the recipient's name across centre, and around the edge of the medal is text naming the award along with the dedication:
|“||FOR DISTINGUISHED CONTRIBUTIONS TO SURGICAL SCIENCE||”|
On the occasion of the award, the medallist delivers the Lister Oration (sometimes called the "Lister Memorial Lecture"). The first award was announced in 1924, with the presentation and the lecture taking place the following year. The most recent award was made in 2010, with a total of 26 people having received the medal to date.
- See also: Memorial Lecture 'On Lister's Great Achievement' (report published in The Lancet, in the issue of 16 May 1925). This was followed by the more substantial publication of the lecture in book form.
- See also: 'The Lister Medallist' (report published in The Lancet, in the issue of 16 July 1927) and Lister: A Continental Appreciation (report published in the British Medical Journal, in the issue of 16 July 1927).
- See also: 'Lister and his Time' (abstract published in The Lancet, in the issue of 15 April 1933). This was followed by the more substantial publication of the lecture in book form.
- Florey's award was made "for the outstanding importance to surgical science of his work on penicillin and its application".
- Jefferson's award was made for his "knowledge of the functions and structure of the nervous system, made as a philosophical biologist, practising neurosurgery".
- Negus's award was made in recognition of "services to the advancement of knowledge in the surgery of the nose and throat by means of his researches into the comparative anatomy and physiology of the larynx and paranasal sinuses".
- Duke-Elder's award was made "in recognition of his services to the advancement of knowledge by means of his researches and writings in ophthalmic medicine and surgery".
- Penfield's award was made "in recognition of his service to the advancement of medical and biological knowledge, especially in the fields of neurology, surgical neurology, and psychology; and equally as humane surgical healer and as scientific researcher".
- Illingworth's's award was made "for his devotion to surgical science over a long period; and in particular for his contributions to knowledge of jaundice and diseases of the biliary tract, of peptic ulcer, and of the endocrine aspects of the treatment of cancer; and for his perception of the importance of the use of oxygen in treatment under hyperbaric conditions as a field for physiological research".
- Brock's award was made "for his distinguished contributions to the surgery of the heart and lungs; and in particular his elucidation of the broncho-pulmonary segments which inspired the segmental surgery of the lung, and to his pioneer work on the correction of valvular derangements of the heart, and the use of hypothermia in cardiac surgery".
- Woodruff's award was made "for his continuing development of experimental and laboratory endeavour in transplantation immunology and the application of the scientific principles emerging from his work to the practice of transplantation surgery".
- Kirklin's award was made "in recognition of his work in the development of open-heart surgery and his ability in organizing a department of surgery".
- Charnley's award was made "for his original and distinguished contributions, both scientific and technical, in the development of total joint replacement". The lecture title was variously announced as 'The origins of post-operative sepsis in elective surgery' and 'Aspects of total asepsis in the operating room with special reference to clean air systems'. The latter title is given on page 255 of John Charnley: the man and the hip (1990, Springer-Verlag), by William Waugh, who reports that the lecture was not published.
- Moore's award was made "for his original and distinguished contributions, both scientific and clinical, to the study and application of metabolic care of the severely ill patient".
- Goligher's award was made "for his original and distinguished contributions to clinical surgery, which have been influential throughout the field of gastrointestinal surgery but especially in the treatment of colorectal carcinoma and ulcerative colitis".
- Calne's award was made "in recognition of [...] distinguished contributions to transplantation surgery over the past 25 years, during which period he has been a pioneer in this field. He introduced the first successful use of chemical immunosuppression, initiated one of the earliest renal transplant programmes in the United Kingdom, has pioneered the first European clinical liver grafting programme [...] and has introduced cyclosporin as an effective immunosuppressive agent."
- Forrest's award was made "in recognition of his outstanding contribution to surgical science, particularly in the field of breast cancer".
- Hopkins' award was made "in recognition of his contribution in the field of fibreoptics and its applications". The theme of his lecture followed that of a paper he published a decade earlier in 1980: 'The development of the modern endoscope'.
- Clark's award was made "in recognition of his contribution to surgical science" relating to his research on "the multi-channel cochlear implant".
- Lister Medal, Br Med J. 1924 July 19; 2(3316): 133.
- Lister Medal, Br Med J. 1926 October 23; 2(3433): 746.
- Lister Memorial Lecture, Br Med J. 1930 July 19; 2(3628): 123.
- Royal College of Surgeons of England, Br Med J. 1932 May 21; 1(3724): 961.
- Lister Medal, Br Med J. 1935 May 25; 1(3881): 1082.
- Lister Medal, Br Med J. 1938 May 28; 1(4038): 1166.
- Lister Medal, Br Med J. 1941 October 25; 2(4216): 588.
- Lister Medal, Br Med J. 1945 May 26; 1(4403): 754–755.
- Lister Medal, Br Med J. 1948 July 24; 2(4568): 213.
- Lister Medal, Ann R Coll Surg Engl. 1951 May; 8(5): 353.
- Lister Medal, Ann R Coll Surg Engl. 1954 September; 15(3): 173.
- Lister Medal, Ann R Coll Surg Engl. 1956 November; 19(5): 330.
- Lister Medal, Ann R Coll Surg Engl. 1961 January; 28(1): 15.
- Lister Medal, Ann R Coll Surg Engl. 1963 November; 33(5): 281.
- Lister Medal, Ann R Coll Surg Engl. 1965 December; 37(6): 391.
- Lister Medal, Ann R Coll Surg Engl. 1969 August; 45(2): 127.
- Lister Medal, Ann R Coll Surg Engl. 1972 June; 50(6): 382.
- Lister Medal, Ann R Coll Surg Engl. 1975 June; 56(6): 339-340.
- Lister Medal, Ann R Coll Surg Engl. 1978 July; 60(4): 355.
- Lister Medal, Ann R Coll Surg Engl. 1981 May; 63(3): 223.
- Lister Medal, 1984, Ann R Coll Surg Engl. 1984 July; 66(4): supplement: College and Faculty Bulletin, page 7.
- College and Faculty News, Ann R Coll Surg Engl. 1987 July; 69(4): supplement: College and Faculty Bulletin, page 3.
- Lister Medal and Oration, Ann R Coll Surg Engl. 1991 March; 73(2): supplement: College and Faculty Bulletin, page 33.
- The names and dates of the medallists for the 1994 and 1997 awards, and the long gap until the next award in 2010, is sourced from the following Word document: Fellowship Election and Prize Committee Regulations and Procedures (11/10/2010). This document is available from: Membership of the College (RCSE website), accessed 1 February 2011. The list of recent medallists forms part of the details of the Lister Medal (section 16, page 32).
- 'Lister Oration', College and Faculty Bulletin (published by the Royal College of Surgeons of England), Volume 79, Number 5 (September 1997), p.216.
- Cochlear implant pioneer wins surgical award, press release on Royal College of Surgeons of England website, dated 2 November 2010, accessed 1 February 2011
- Auction site for offprint of the 1930 Lister Oration by Harving Cushing, with a photograph of the medal (ehistorybuff.com)
- Official press release for the 2010 award to Graeme Clark (Royal College of Surgeons of England)