Google Doodle pays tribute to Dr Ignaz Semmelweis, pioneer of hand washing

As the deadly new coronavirus pandemic continues to spread, health officials suggest that one of the best ways to prevent yourself from getting sick or spreading the bacteria is to wash your hands regularly, according tomedia CNET. And on Friday, Google paid tribute to Dr Ignaz Semmelweis, a pioneer of hand washing, via animated Doodle.

Google Doodle pays tribute to Dr Ignaz Semmelweis, pioneer of hand washing

In 1847, Dr. Ignaz Semmelweis, a Hungarian physician and scientist known as the “saviour of mothers”, first proposed hand washing. Friday’s animated Doodle shows the right way to wash your hands to prevent the spread of the disease, and Google has used it to give Semmelweis a diameter. On Friday, 173 years ago, he was appointed chief resident of the Obstetrics and Gynaecology Clinic at the Vienna General Hospital, where he discovered a link between the spread of the bacteria and the high maternal mortality rate.

Semmelweis found that infections known as “birth fever” are very common in maternity hospitals across Europe, and are associated with the transmission of infectious materials through the hands of doctors who have recently undergone surgery or autopsies.

He observed that the mortality rate of women infected with “birth fever” in the doctor’s ward of the hospital’s first maternity clinic was two to three times higher than that of “birth fever” mothers in the nurse’s ward of the second obstetric clinic. Both clinics use the same technology, so the reasons are confusing.

The discovery came after the death of a friend of Semmelweis, who recently poked himself with a scalpel during a post-mortem examination of a woman who had died of maternity fever. The friend’s autopsy revealed the same type of infection as postpartum fever, causing Semmelweis to make contact and order students and doctors to wash their hands with calcium chloride solution before each check.”

Semmelweis’s observations contradicted the prevailing medical and scientific views of the time and were rejected in its all. But the results were self-evident – before hand washing began in May 1847, the death rate at the first clinic was 18.3 per cent. By July, the ratio had fallen to 1.2 per cent, and the following year it was zero.

Semmelweis died in 1874 at the age of 47. He had been beaten by guards, which could have worsened the gangrene wound on his hand and eventually died. A few years later, Louis Pasteur expanded the bacteriological theory of the disease to prove Semmelweis’s hygiene habits. To this day, Semmelweis is considered a pioneer in the disinfection process.