The Godfather of Handwashing 洗手之父
Your mom tells you to wash your hands a hundred times a day. Or maybe your teacher tackles you on your way to the cafeteria, trying to get a squirt of sanitizer on your hands. Everyone knows now that dirty hands spread germs and diseases. But back in the mid-1800s, Dr. Ignaz Semmelweis made this groundbreaking discovery at a hospital in Vienna, Austria. And everyone thought he was crazy!
我们每天都要洗手，因为手脏了会有病菌。但是你知道人们是如何知道这一点的吗？这要得益于19世纪中期的产科医生伊格纳兹· 塞麦尔维斯的发现。当时，医生没有消毒意识，经常用刚刚解剖了尸体的手，接着接生，导致很多产妇死于产褥热。塞麦尔维斯医生发现相比于医生，由产婆接生的孕妇产褥热死亡率更低，而他的同事也因解剖尸体时，手术刀割伤自己而死亡，症状和产褥热相似。由此，他推断出了感染的存在，开始要求医生术前洗手消毒。虽然当时的人们并不理解他，也没有认识到他的功绩，但是我们却应该感谢他。 6park.com
Semmelweis was an obstetrician who was puzzled by the number of women dying from “childbed fever” in his hospital just days after giving birth. Since it was a teaching hospital, he and his colleagues performed autopsies on the women who died to try to determine the cause. Often they had to leave the autopsy room and rush to the maternity ward to assist another woman give birth. It’s unthinkable now, but back then they didn’t wear rubber gloves and they didn’t wash their hands before delivering babies. Eww!
What’s Going On Here? 6park.com
The hospital had two delivery wards; doctors delivered babies in the first ward and midwives delivered them in the second. Mothers were admitted randomly to either ward. Semmelweis’s first clue to the cause of the fever was that statistics showed fewer women died from fever in the midwives’ ward than in the doctors’ ward. So, what was different? Aha! Midwives didn’t do autopsies!
Two Clues 6park.com
His second clue came when one of his best friends, Dr. Jakob Kolletschka, was accidentally stabbed with a scalpel during an autopsy of a woman who’d died after childbirth. Kolletschka died a few days later, after showing symptoms similar to childbed fever. Semmelweis theorized that the scalpel had been contaminated with some kind of “invisible cadaver particles” that caused Kolletschka’s sickness. This scientific observation led Semmelweis to conclude that three things were needed to spread this disease: infected tissue (from a cadaver), a means of transporting the infected tissue (a hand or scalpel), and contact with healthy tissue (a woman giving birth or unlucky Kolletschka).
Semmelweis then insisted that doctors wash their hands in chlorine solution when going from autopsy to bedside. He also insisted that bed sheets must be changed in between patients (yeah, they didn’t do that before, either). He became obsessed with cleanliness, and his daily rants in the hospital made his colleagues treat him more like a madman than a hero.
You Want Us to Do What? 6park.com
The scorn of his peers and the realization that he, personally, had been responsible for the deaths of many mothers deeply saddened him. He worked around the clock and eventually alienated both family and friends. In 1865, at age 47, Semmelweis died a broken man, without recognition for his contribution to science and medicine. Perhaps now’s a good time to express our belated thanks.