New Delhi: Google doodle on Friday recognised Hungarian physician Dr Ignaz Semmelweis, widely attributed as the first person to discover the medical benefits of handwashing. He was also known as the “father of infection control”.
Semmelweis, a Hungarian physician, is widely recognised as being the first person to discover the medical benefits of handwashing.
On 20 March 1847, Semmelweis demonstrated the importance of clean hands when he was appointed chief resident in the maternity clinic of the Vienna General Hospital and began requiring all physicians to disinfect their hands with a solution of chlorinated lime.
Prior to his appointment, a mysterious infection also known as “childbed fever” was leading to high mortality rates in new mothers in maternity wards across Europe.
Semmelweis after his thorough investigation deduced that doctors were transmitting infectious material from operations to the mothers through their hands. Immediately, the medical staff was asked to wash their hands before and after attending patients. This brought down the level of infections transmitted.
Today, Semmelweis is widely remembered as “the father of infection control,” credited with revolutionizing not just obstetrics, but the medical field itself, informing generations beyond his own that handwashing is one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of diseases.