Monday, August 19, 2013

One of the saddest things in history, Ignaz Semmelweis

Semmelweis was outraged by the indifference of the medical profession and began writing open and increasingly angry letters to prominent European obstetricians, at times denouncing them as irresponsible murderers. His contemporaries, including his wife, believed he was losing his mind, and in 1865 he was committed to an asylum. In an ironic twist of fate, he died there of septicaemia only 14 days later, possibly as the result of being severely beaten by guards.
He effectively figured out germ theory and how to combat it. And was so angry at the medical community for not accepting his conclusions that he wrote enough irate letters attacking them that they locked him up, beat him, and he died of an infection. He basically was the guy who put medicine in the black. It was the case prior to him, that alternative medicine practitioners did better than traditional medicine because alternative medicine kept you away from traditional medicine which killed you. That you could bleed on a battlefield of a wound and stand a better chance of surviving than if you were taken to a clinic. Women would have children in the street rather than go to the clinic staffed with doctors and would beg to go to the midwife clinic. Prior to the 19th century, medicine was worse than voodoo because for as weird and nonsensical as voodoo is, they didn't kill you unlike medicine. Today we are very cognisant of this. The reason for the reliance on outpatient surgery is not high turn over and getting patients out as quick as possible for the sake of money, but because hospitals are not safe places to stay for long periods and the sooner they can boot you out the better your rates of avoiding post-op infections.

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