Ever wonder whom we have to thank for the invention of modern medicine? Well, it wasn't exactly one person behind such innovation, but here's a major contributor to the movement: Ambroise Paré, a sixteenth-century French physician/phenom.

Paré spent much of his life as a personal doc to a few different kings of France, as well as a field surgeon with the army. He wasn't afraid to experiment with wounds to figure out which remedies worked best, especially on the battlefield (no matter how many heart attacks that might've caused his patients)! In doing so, he helped pioneer the modern idea of surgery.

He wasn't afraid to try new things, coming up with an early usable prototype for the prosthetic eye. In 1579, Paré created a metal contraption covered in leather and painted the image of an eye on it; he planned on a patient wearing it over the lid, kept in place by a strap wound around the head. This ingenious physician also built other kinds of prostheses, including hands and legs.

                                     A drawing of one of Paré's artificial hands. 

A true scientist, Paré was merciless in his search for the truth. For centuries, bezoars (basically human hairballs, pieces of swallowed materials that don't pass through the body properly) were regarded to be ideal antidotes for poison. Paré was skeptical at best. In 1575, a cook was caught stealing royal silverware and, in lieu of regular punishment, agreed to be a guinea pig for the royal doctor. He was poisoned and then Paré gave him a bezoar to see what would happen; needless to say, the guy died painfully a few hours later.

After working with the last Valois monarchs for decades, Paré became pals with his royal charges. So he got really lucky during the Saint Bartholomew's Day Massacre in 1572, during which thousands of Huguenots (French Protestants) were slaughtered, when King Charles IX locked him in a clothes closet to save his life.

Feature image via Ji-Elle/Wikimedia Commons.