Ignaz Semmelweis

Most Influential Person Across History

Hungarian physician, early pioneer of antiseptic procedures ; introduced hand disinfection standards, in obstetrical clinics

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Ignaz Semmelweis
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According to Wikipedia, Ignaz Philipp Semmelweis was a Hungarian physician and scientist of German descent, who was an early pioneer of antiseptic procedures, and was described as the "saviour of mothers". Postpartum infection, also known as puerperal fever or childbed fever, consists of any bacterial infection of the reproductive tract following birth, and in the 19th century was common and often fatal. Semmelweis discovered that the incidence of infection could be drastically reduced by requiring healthcare workers in obstetrical clinics to disinfect their hands. In 1847, he proposed hand washing with chlorinated lime solutions at Vienna General Hospital's First Obstetrical Clinic, where doctors' wards had three times the mortality of midwives' wards. The maternal mortality rate dropped from 18% to less than 2%, and he published a book of his findings, Etiology, Concept and Prophylaxis of Childbed Fever in 1861.

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