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Ignaz Philipp Semmelweis: First ‘Handgerm Therapist’

October 23, 2016

Ever had that questionnaire in your head while laundering your hands to get off germs, that who in the first place had this idea popped out? Well let’s just say, it wasn’t a good idea back then. The ‘theory’ of handwashing was considered as an offense to many educated humans when it was discovered the first time.

Let me pull the curtains of misery a little up to the edge and tell you that it was the Hungarian physician Ignaz Philipp Semmelweis who first discovered that hand washing prevented the spread of disease.

h2Known today as the ‘Savior of mothers’, he discovered that the incidence of puerperal fever (also known as the “childhood fever”) could be drastically cured by the use of hand disinfection in obstetrical clinics. He even published a book for his findings in Etiology, ‘Concept and Prophylaxis of Childbed Fever’.

Despite various publications of results where hand washing reduced mortality to below 1%, Semmelweis’s observations did not satisfy the established scientific and medical minds of that time and his ideas were rejected by the medical community. Some doctors were offended at the suggestion that they should wash their hands (I wonder what they have to say now….)

Instead of giving this creature the acknowledgement and appreciation that he deserved, he was committed to an asylum. Sadly, he died at age 47 of pyaemia, after being beaten by the guards, only 14 days after he was committed.

Hence proved, not everyone gets a ‘happy ending’ for doing something great for the people and society. #slow claps


About the author: Ankita Mishra
A DeadCrazy yet curious personality with the purpose of exploring the insight, a liddle too much.

  • Akash Bansal

    Tragic yet inspiring…

  • Hitesh Shetty

    that was a sad tale to narrate. but good knowledge.

    • ankita mishra

      Thank You 🙂

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