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Ignaz Semmelweis, Hungarian Obstetrician

Ignaz Semmelweis, Hungarian Obstetrician

C023/7725

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SCIENCE SOURCE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SCIENCE SOURCE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Ignaz Philipp Semmelweis (1818-1865) was a Hungarian physician and an early pioneer of antiseptic procedures. Semmelweis discovered that cases of puerperal fever, a form of septicaemia, could be cut drastically if doctors washed their hands in a chlorine solution before gynaecological examinations. He postulated the theory in 1847 while working in Vienna General Hospital's First Obstetrical Clinic, where doctors' wards had three times the mortality of midwives' wards. During 1848, Semmelweis widened the scope of his washing protocol to include all instruments coming in contact with patients in labour, and virtually eliminating puerperal fever from the hospital ward. He published a book of his findings, but his ideas were rejected by the medical.

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