A great medical detective story, by the author of the bestselling "How We Die. The Doctors' Plague" is a riveting, revealing narrative of one of the key turning points in medical history.A great medical detective story, by the author of the bestselling "How We Die. The Doctors' Plague" is a riveting, revealing narrative of one of the key turning points in medical history.Read Less
Illus. VG PB advance reading copy. Semmelweis is remembered for the now commonplace notion that doctors must wash their hands before examining patients. In. Mid 19th century Vienna this was a subversive. Deaths from childbed fever were exploding. His simple reforms threatened the medical establishment and he failed to overturn the status quo.
Fine in illustrated wrappers. 1st ed-From the back cover: 'Ignac Semmelweis is remembered for the now-commonplace notion that doctors must wash their hands before examining patients. In mid-nineteenth-century Vienna, however, this was a subversive idea. With deaths from childbed fever exploding, Semmelweis discovered that doctors themselves were spreading the disease. While his simple reforms worked immediately, they also threatened the medical establishment and so undid the passionate but self-destructive Semmelweis that he failed to overturn the status quo, leaving it to later medical giants--Pasteur, Lister, and Koch--to establish conclusively the germ theory of disease. ' A title in the Great Discoveries series. Bibliographical notes. 189 pp.
Publishers Weekly, 2003-09-01 In 1847, one out of every six women who delivered a baby in the First Division at the Allgemeine Krankenhaus hospital in Vienna died of childbed fever, a situation mirrored at other medical facilities in Europe and the U.S. Bestselling author Nuland (How We Die), a clinical professor of surgery at Yale, details in lively descriptive writing just how Ignac Semmelweis, an assistant physician at Allgemeine Krankenhaus, uncovered the origin of this devastating epidemic. Although theories were advanced that attributed it to unhealthy conditions in the expectant mother's body, Semmelweis launched his own investigation. He traced the high mortality rate from this fever in the First Division to the medical doctors, who went straight from dissecting cadavers to delivering babies without washing their hands; they were, in fact, infecting their own patients. Semmelweis's doctrine was controversial in medical circles, Nuland explains, partly because the eccentric physician's self-destructive personality alienated possible supporters. Drawing on careful research, the author convincingly argues that, contrary to popular myth, Semmelweis was not a persecuted victim but, despite his brilliance, was his own worst enemy. He was committed to a public mental institution and, according to Nuland, probably suffered from Alzheimer's and died from beatings administered by hospital personnel. In this engrossing story, Nuland shows how Semmelweis's groundbreaking discovery of how childbed fever was transmitted was later validated by the work of Louis Pasteur and Joseph Lister. (Oct.) FYI: This volume is the first in Norton's Great Discoveries series, which highlights scientific achievement. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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