“Now that evolution of that thought, of well, there’s a connection here, can I improve outcome, could actually translate into what happens in transfusion.”
“People are actually thinking that it is all to do with demons or devils coming in till a simple solution Semmelweis brought in of hand washing and that prevented all the sepsis. So that’s a simple solution. So many things in medicine may have a simple solution, but people are reluctant to accept because something is simple.”
Sundar Sankaran, MD, Director and Chief Nephrologist of the Karnataka Nephrology and Transplant Institute with the Columbia Asia Hospitals in Bangalore, India.
“Semmelweis’ observations are common sense, a response and observation of daily life. He was someone intelligent trying to see something, however, in his day, his recommendations were
rejected and challenged and he was persecuted for them.”
Gonzalo Cardemil Herrera, MD, is Professor Department of Surgery, Hospital Clinico Universidad de Chile, Chile.
The docs would go from the autopsy room into a delivery room, didn’t change their clothes; didn’t change their coats; didn’t wash their hands; just went from one table to the other. The physicians had a horrible death rate related to post delivery sepsis of the moms. Same population of moms, midwives were delivering mothers, and their death rate was much less. Semmelweis goes: “Well, why are they having less sepsis, less illness and morbidity,” and made the simple observation that you need to wash your hands between patients. He introduced that idea to his team and said ok, here’s what we’re going to do. We’re just going to wash, just use regular antiseptic solution and wash and his moms started surviving at much higher rates. There was no basis for anyone to believe him, plus he was a pretty colorful character apparently as well. And what he was suggesting, just sounded outrageous even though he did have evidence; he had data.
“If the misfortune is not to persists forever then this truth must be made known to everyone concerned.”
Ignatz Semmelweis, 1862
“In the early days of asepsis, in Vienna, Austria, Dr. Semmelweis noticed that the midwives had many fewer infections than did the physicians who were touching many different patients, and who were actually even coming from the morgue.”