Dr. Ignaz Semmelweis: Medical Pioneer in Asepsis
A few weeks ago I shared a YouTube video on Corset History created by Weird History. As I said then, the channel is amazing. So many great bits from history on hundreds of topics. As y’all know, medical history is especially fascinating to me, so today I am sharing another Weird History video, this on about medical revolutionary Dr. Ignaz Semmelweis. Below is the blurb from YouTube:
In the 19th century, physicians argued that Victorian hospitals offered modern, scientific care. But in Vienna, one doctor realized physicians were inadvertently ending the lives of their patients. That’s because 19th-century medical practices did not include handwashing.
Dr. Ignaz Semmelweis spent years trying to convince other doctors to wash their hands after performing post-mortems. He proved that handwashing could save thousands of lives, and yet most doctors ignored his evidence. One stated it simply wasn’t possible for doctors to harm their patients, as “a gentleman’s hands are clean.” Even after Semmelweis provided solid proof that washing hands and sanitized tools decreased the maternal mortality rate, doctors dismissed his findings.
Note that I am not vouching for the absolute accuracy of everything said in this 13+ minute video, but from what I have read, the facts seem spot on. Of one point I can assure: Washing hands thoroughly and frequently is VERY important!
Can you imagine going from one surgery to the next without washing your hands! So many people died needlessly!
It is so strange to fathom. Then again, when I started as a nurse in the mid 1980s, we didn’t wear gloves all the time so in a way I can imagine it. Thank goodness for good science!