Ignaz Philipp Semmelweis
In the middle of the 1840s Ignaz Philipp Semmelweis (1818-1865) was appointed assistant lecturer at the First Obstetrical Clinic of the Allgemeines Krankenhaus in Vienna. At that time mortality from puerperal sepsis was very high, especially in maternity hospitals. Between the years 1841 and 1843 as many as sixteen percent of the parturient women there died. Semmelweis noticed that those attended by midwifes, as opposed to medical students, had a much lower death rate with an average of only ca. two percent. This led him to surmise, correctly, that the medical students who came directly from the autopsy dissection room carried infective material with them, and a few years later he instituted a policy at the maternity division which required hand washing with chlorinated limewater. Within one month the mortality rate from puerperal fever fell to about three percent. After publishing many shorter accounts of his findings, he finally published his complete discussion in Die Aetiologie. Der Begriff und die Prophylaxis des Kindbettfiebers in 1861. Semmelweis discovery of the etiology and prevention of childbed fever was truly revolutionary, saving lives and preventing suffering of women in childbirth.
The Hagströmer Library collection holds the following works by Semmelweis:
Die Aetiologie. Der Begriff und die Prophylaxis des Kindbettfiebers, 1861.
Zwei offene Briefe an Dr. J. Spaeth, Professor der Geburtshilfe an der k.k. Josefs-Akademie in Wien, und an Hofrath Dr. F. W. Scanzoni, Professor der Geburtshilfe zu Würzburg, 1861.
Zwei offene Briefe an Hofrath Dr. Eduard Casp. Jac. v. Siebold, Professor der Geburtshilfe zu Göttingen, und an Hofrath Dr. F. W. Scanzoni, Professor der Geburtshilfe zu Würzburg, 1861.
Offener Brief an sämmtliche Professoren der Geburtshilfe, 1862.
Anna Lantz, 12 March 2020