Ignaz Semmelweis Just Wanted People To Wash Their Hands

Ignaz Semmelweis Just Wanted People To Wash Their Hands

During Ignaz Semmelweis' time, bacteria were not widely believed to be a cause of disease. Semmelweis pioneered the idea that washing hands between working with cadavers and delivering babies would reduce the cases of disease in the babies. The results were inarguable, but many surgeons refused to take the advice from the shy scientist.

05:42

Key Facts In This Video

  • 1

    Ignaz Semmelweis first suggested washing hands before delivering babies, and infant death rates plummeted. (1:12)

  • 2

    People once believed in "miasmas," which were foul smells that were thought to cause disease. (3:26)

  • 3

    Ignaz Semmelweis suffered a nervous breakdown largely because very few people believed his research that washing hands prevented disease. (4:27)

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