Semmelweis, Ignaz Philipp
Ignaz Philipp Semmelweis (Ĭg´näts fē´lĬp zĕm´əlvīs), 1818–65, Hungarian physician. He was a pioneer in employing asepsis. While on the staff of the general hospital in Vienna, he recognized the infectious nature of puerperal fever and insisted that attendants in obstetrical cases thoroughly cleanse their hands; he thus greatly reduced the mortality rate from infection in childbirth. Ridicule of his belief caused him to leave Vienna (1854) for Pest, Hungary, and ultimately drove him to insanity and suicide. He recorded his results in The Cause, Concept, and Prophylaxis of Childbed Fever (1861, tr. 1941), but the value of his work was not fully recognized until c.1890.
See biographies by L. F. Destouches (tr. 1937) and J. Rich (1961).
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Publication information: Article title: Semmelweis, Ignaz Philipp. Encyclopedia title: The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. © 2012 The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia © 2012, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. Used with the permission of Columbia University Press. All Rights Reserved. Publisher: The Columbia University Press. Place of publication: Not available. Publication year: 2013.
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