Internet search giant Google is using its prominent global stage, the Google Doodle to celebrate Hungarian physician, Dr. Ignaz Semmelweis. Dr. Semmelweis is attributed as the first person to discover the medical benefits of washing hands. He successfully deduced and also showcased that proper hand-washing and disinfection “vastly reduced the transmission of disease.” Semmelweis was appointed as the Chief Resident at the maternity clinic of Vienna General Hospital. He observed and concluded the benefits of washing hands while serving at this post. Let’s take a closer look at the life and achievements of Dr. Semmelweis.
Google Doodle celebrates hand-washing; details
According to the dedicated Google Doodle page, we take a closer look at the life of Dr. Semmelweis. In addition, we also inspect the video that Google has made to honor the important contribution of the discovery. Dr. Semmelweis received his doctorate from the University of Vienna and a master’s degree in midwifery. For some context, midwifery is the medical profession that deals with pregnancy, childbirth, postpartum, and general sexual health of women. When he started his tenure at the hospital, a mysterious infection called the “childbed fever” was raging across Europe. This infection was resulting in a high mortality rate of new mothers in maternity wards throughout the continent.
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Semmelweis drilled down to find the cause of the issue. He discovered that doctors were transmitting the infectious material from earlier operations or autopsies through their hands. After this discovery, Semmelweis also created an institutional requirement for all medical staff to wash hands between patient examinations and operations. This halted the infection rates in his division.
It is also interesting to note that his colleagues viewed these ideas with skepticism. However, decades later, the “germ theory of disease” validated the recommendations. Dr. Semmelweis is also known as the “father of infection control”. Coincidentally, this celebration is extremely important and welcome as the world currently battles the coronavirus pandemic. Taking a look at the Google Doodle, we get a 50-second long video where a figure representing Dr. Semmelweis times a pair of hands during the washing process.