Ignaz Semmelweiss Story
Ignaz Semmelweiss Story2 mins 141 2 mins 141
We all know that washing hands rids us of "Bad Germs"...It is common practice...even kids know and are tirelessly washing hands these days. About 173 years ago, this wasn't the case. The correlation between handwashing and sterilization was proved by a Hungarian Doctor, Ignaz Semmelweiss. He observed that when he or any of his students dissected corpses during their anatomy practicals and rushed to deliver babies without washing hands in a solution of Chlorine and Lime the patient would get infected with Puerperal fever and die. If the hands were washed properly, the patients would survive. He meticulously observed and made his observations public, but his peers ridiculed him!!
No-one believed his theories or took him seriously. This affected him psychologically and he suffered from nervous disorders. He was not even well-received by his family. He suffered from dementia. He was sent to an asylum for treatment! One night a scuffle ensued between him and a guard. In a fit of anger, the guard bit his hand. The wound turned gangrenous resulting in his death, which did not even get a mention anywhere!
Years after his death, people started noticing merit in his work. Pioneering work by french chemist Louis Pasteur and German physician Robert Koch led to the development of "The Germ Theory". Pasteur found the causative agent of many diseases and established the correlation between germs and diseases. Dr. Semmelweiss's theories were tested and found to be true! As an act of remorse, due credit was attributed to his observations and in Budapest, he even has a University named after him.
The "Semmelweiss reflex", is a metaphor for not accepting some new concept or idea which rebuts traditional beliefs.
If one happened to notice the Google doodle on 20th March...one would notice that Google recognized the efforts of Dr. Ignaz Semmelweiss and his important discovery of handwashing and its medical benefits! Thank you Dr. Semmeleeiss, we all owe you big time!