(1 Jul 1818 - 13 Aug 1865)
German physician who greatly reduced deaths from puerperal (child bed) fever by introducing antisepsis into medical practice. He insisted on health workers rigorously handwashing between patients, and clean bed sheets.
Science Quotes by Ignaz Semmelweis (1 quote)
When I look back upon the past, I can only dispel the sadness which falls upon me by gazing into that happy future when the infection [puerperal fever] will be banished. But if it is not vouchsafed for me to look upon that happy time with my own eyes
the conviction that such a time must inevitably sooner or later arrive will cheer my dying hour.
— Ignaz Semmelweis
[Webmaster note: He had identified that puerperal fever was transmitted to women by the cadaveric material on the hands of physicians coming direct from the post-mortem room to an examination. He discovered that washing the physicians hands in a solution of chlorinated lime prevented the transmission of this disease. His doctrine was opposed by many, and he died in an insane asylum in 1865, at age 47.] Original publication, Die Aetiologie, der Begriff und die Prophylaxis des Kindbettfiebvers (1861), trans. by F.P. Murphy as The Etiology, the Concept, and the Prophylaxis of Childbed Fever (1941), Foreword. As quoted in Francis Randolph Packard (ed.), Annals of Medical History (1939), 3rd Series, 1, 94; and Stephen Jay Gould, Hens Teeth and Horses Toes: Further Reflections in Natural History (1985), 274.
- - short biography, births, deaths and events on date of Semmelweis's birth. 1 Jul
Ignaz SemmelweisIgnaz - biography from Medical Review of Reviews (1912).
- The Doctors' Plague: Germs, Childbed Fever, and the Strange Story of Ignac Semmelweis, by Sherwin B. Nuland. - book suggestion.