The Forum

by BBC · · · · 208 subscribers

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The Hungarian obstetrician Ignaz Semmelweis, born 200 years ago this month, saved the lives of hundreds, possibly thousands, of new mothers with his forward-looking ideas about hospital hygiene. He insisted that junior doctors working for him wash their hands in chlorinated lime solution before examining expectant mothers. This simple procedure reduced mortality by something like 90 per cent at the Vienna maternity ward that he was in charge of. Many more deaths could have been prevented had other physicians followed his advice without delay. So why did many in the medical profession resist not just Semmelweis's findings but also similar ...

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