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To me as a physician who studies health quality, it often seems that getting health care workers to follow hand hygiene protocols has gotten only slightly easier since the days of Ignaz Semmelweis, the first doctor to champion hand washing.

As a young obstetrician at the Vienna General Hospital in Austria in the 1840s, Semmelweis noticed that women who gave birth in one maternity unit had very high rates of infection and death compared to women in another ward. The unit with the low infection and death rate was staffed by midwives. The other unit was staffed by medical students and doctors who also performed autopsies.

Semmelweis found that when the autopsy-performing students and doctors washed their hands with an antiseptic solution before examining women during childbirth, infection and maternal death fell by 90 percent in that ward.

… Read More

Image:┬áBy Serenity – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4738823

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