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Ignaz Philipp Semmelweis

(1818—1865) Hungarian obstetrician


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(1818–1865)

The Austro-Hungarian physician and obstetrician who made the connection between childbed fever (puerperal sepsis) and poor hygiene in obstetrics. He recorded the survival rates of women after childbirth, when their obstetric attendants adhered to his regimen of hand-washing before attending women in labor, proving that washing hands in a disinfectant solution prevented puerperal sepsis. But his ideas were rejected by his colleagues; he experienced a paranoid psychosis and ended his life in a mental hospital.

Subjects: public health and epidemiology.


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