THE DOCTOR WHO SAVED BABIES by Josephine Rich
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THE DOCTOR WHO SAVED BABIES

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The sight of an autopsy decided Ignaz Semmelweiss' future career. His insightful questions in medical school evoked not answers but the anger of his Viennese professors, but he was nevertheless awarded his degree as Doctor of Midwifery. Appalled by the high mortality rate in the maternity ward of his hospital, Semmelweiss pursued all the factors of puerperal fever, believed to be a disease of the blood, and discovered that the real agent of death was the bacteria carried by doctors from the autopsy room to the ward. Further observation led to the conclusion that hands soiled from the examination of the diseased living could be equally fatal to new mothers. The antiseptic measures he devised were adopted in some quarters and scoffed at in others, and the petty jealousy of his superior led to his virtual ostracization in Vienna. In his native Hungary, Semmelweiss continued his relentless drive to reduce the mortality rate in the maternity wards. Accepted back in Vienna, the brilliant doctor and humanitarian was on his way to new discovery when through an accident in the autopsy room, an ironic death struck him down. Carefully researched, this takes a wide audience perceptively along the route Semmelweiss travelled both in his discoveries and personal biography.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1961
Publisher: Messner