The quality-improvement work of Ignaz Semmelweis
should be required reading for all physicians.
of Budapest and the prevention of puerperal fever.
From there, I will go on to recommend to those graduating from colleges everywhere in the world this spring that their hero be Ignaz Semmelweis
, a Hungarian physician, discovers that hand-washing prevents a common but fatal bacterial infection contracted by women during childbirth.
2) In a paper published in 1825, a pharmacist declared that physicians and others attending patients with contagious diseases would benefit from moistening their hands with liquid chloride solution; however, as a result of the seminal studies by Ignaz Semmelweis
and Holmes, hand washing gradually became accepted as one of the most important measures for preventing transmission of pathogens in health-care facilities.
Will Sawyer and his right hand Henry the Hand Champion Handwasher went down to Charleston, South Carolina to announce the greatest public health innovation since Ignaz Semmelweis
and handwashing in the 1860's.
For example, when the mid-19th century Hungarian physician Ignaz Semmelweis
showed that proper hand disinfection correlated with a dramatic decrease in the occurrence of puerperal fever, his suggestion was dismissed because he had no proof of his causal explanation.
was a Hungarian obstetrician practicing in the mid-1800's, years before Louis Pasteur came up with his germ theory and Joseph Lister popularized hand washing.
To us, the reticence is just a little too reminiscent of those that balked at the insistence by Ignaz Semmelweis
that physicians practice hand-washing in obstetrical wards to limit puerperal fever over a century and a half ago.
The offensive of Ignaz Semmelweis
against ineluctable miasms and the therapeutic nihilism
Other scientists discussed in the book include Alfred Wegener and his theory of continental drift, Ignaz Semmelweis
and the idea that hand washing would stop the spread of germs, Charles Darwin's theories on the origin of the species, George Cayley's fantastical flying machines, Nikola Tesla's obsession with electricity and Charles Babbage's early computer designs.
It is a curious collage of ideas and techniques drawn from odd thinkers like industrialist Ray Dalio, a physician named Ignaz Semmelweis
who pioneered antiseptic procedures, George Orwell, and social psychologists such as Carol Dweck and Carol Tavris.