Authors: Bruno Splavski, MD; Kenan Arnautovic, MD; Kresimir Rotim, MD (Zagreb, Croatia)

Ambroise Paré was an illustrious surgeon of the Renaissance whose ideas, books and practical endeavors revolutionized surgery. He promoted medical empiricism and established a platform for evidence-based medicine that will define future anatomy and surgery. Therefore, he is considered a father of modern surgery and precursor of neuroscience.

Ambroise Paré was born in the French province in 1510 to the humble family. At an early age he became a barber-surgeon and surgical student at the Hotel Dieu hospital in Paris. The experience he gained there enabled him to become a military surgeon making many innovations considering wound management, arteries ligation to prevent hemorrhaging during limb amputations, but also war head injury. His scientific publications were written in his native French what made them widely accessible. He insisted that a surgeon should operate on gently to reduce pain and to improve the outcome. Although he served four successive French monarchs at the royal Court, his prolonged career was also concerned with care for the wounded, sick and poor what made him famous.

His professional vocation and his personal life were burdened by unrewarding political circumstances and religious prejudice. Purges organized by non-tolerant Catholic fanatics endangered his physical existence since he was a Huguenot (Reformed Protestant) by faith. However, his life was saved by hiding in a clothes closet during the St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre in 1572.

In this paper, we discuss the scientific achievements, professional career and personal life of Ambroise Paré in the light of religious intolerance of his times.