Reading Comprehension Quiz

[A new interlinear poem will be available each Monday: Weekly Interlinear Poem .]

Use the dictionary, the acronym finder, and the word origins dictionary (links above) as needed. A new quiz is available each Monday through Thursday. This is the quiz for October 22.

Joseph Lister (died 1912) was an English surgeon who promoted the idea of sterile surgery. He successfully introduced carbolic acid (phenol) to sterilize surgical instruments and to clean wounds.

At the time the usual explanation for wound infection was that the exposed tissues were damaged by chemicals in the air or via a stinking "miasma" in the air. The sick wards actually smelled bad, not due to a "miasma" but due to the rotting of wounds.

Facilities for washing hands or the patient's wounds did not exist, and it was even considered unnecessary for the surgeon to wash his hands before he saw a patient. Lister became aware of a paper published by the French chemist Louis Pasteur that showed that rotting could occur without any oxygen if micro-organisms were present. Lister confirmed this with his own experiments. If micro-organisms were causing gangrene, the problem was how to get rid of them. Pasteur suggested three methods: filter, heat, or expose them to chemical solutions. The first two were inappropriate in a human wound, so Lister experimented with the third.

Carbolic acid (phenol) had been in use as a means of deodorizing sewage, so Lister tested the results of spraying instruments, the surgical incisions, and dressings with a solution of it. Lister found that carbolic acid solution swabbed on wounds markedly reduced the incidence of gangrene.

1. The infection mentioned in the article is
A. miasma.
B. micro-organisms.
C. gangrene.
D. acid.
2. (See low on the page.) The Latin origin of carbolic meant
A. coal oil.
B. stinging.
C. sewage.
D. wounds.
3. Lister was a native of
A. France.
B. Germany.
C. Switzerland.
D. England.
4. Micro-organisms are organisms that are
A. small.
B. too small to be seen with the naked eye.
C. found in a petri dish.
D. found in wounds.

The information comes from Wikipedia.

Write down your answers and then see Answer Key below.

Answer Key: 1-C..........2-A..........3-D..........4-B
Corrections? Questions? Comments? E-mail Robert Jackson at