The Doctors' Plague

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The Doctors' Plague: Germs, Childbed Fever, and the Strange Story of Ignac Semmelweis

Sherwin B. Nuland

Publisher: W. W. Norton & CompanyFormat: Paperback

Sherwin B. Nuland tells the strange story of Ignac Semmelweis with an urgency and insight gained from his own studies and clinical experience. Ignac Semmelweis is remembered for the now-commonplace notion that doctors must wash their hands before examining patients. In mid-nineteenth century Vienna, however, this was a subversive idea. With deaths from childbed fever exploding, Semmelweis discovered that doctors themselves were spreading the disease. While his simple reforms worked immediately, they also threatened the medical establishment and so undid the passionate but self-destructive Semmelweis that he failed to overturn the status quo, leaving it to later medical giants - Pasteur, Lister and Koch - to establish conclusively the germ theory of disease.

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