Ignaz Semmelweis deduced that doctors were transmitting infectious material from operations
As coronavirus continues to spread and impact people around the world, today's Google brings forth the importance of hand washing with its Doodle remembering Dr. Ignaz Semmelweis, well-known as the first person to discover the benefits of hand washing.
Born in Buda (now Budapest), Hungary on July 1st, 1818, Ignaz Semmelweis obtained a doctorate from the University of Vienna and followed by a master's degree in midwifery.
The Hungarian physician in 1847 was appointed Chief Resident in Vienna General Hospital's maternity clinic, where he explained the importance of clean hands and demonstrated that doctors should disinfect their hands before attending patients, especially mothers.
A mysterious infection also known as "childbed fever" was leading to high mortality rates in new mothers in maternity wards across Europe.
Semmelweis after his thorough investigation deduced that doctors were transmitting infectious material from operations to the mothers through their hands. Immediately, the medical staff was asked to wash their hands before and after attending patients. This brought down the level of infections transmitted.
Young medical aspirants and students in Vienna recognized the significance of Semmelweis' discovery and came forth with all assistance.
In 1855 Semmelweis was appointed professor of obstetrics at the University of Pest and in 1861, he published his principal work, The Etiology, Concept, and Prophylaxis of Childbed Fever.
In 1865, Semmelweis suffered a breakdown and was taken to a mental hospital, where he died. Ironically, his illness and death were caused by the infection of a wound on his right hand. He died of the same disease against which struggled all his professional life.
Decades later, the hygiene recommendations were validated as "germ theory of disease."