Pioneering scientist Semmelweis’ plaque proves his massive impact on theories of hospital hygiene and sterilization.
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VIENNA: It's not an uncommon fate for a pioneering scientist: languishing unrecognized in their time before dying in obscurity.Born on July 1, 1818, Semmelweis joined the obstetrics department of Vienna's general hospital in 1846 and was immediately struck by the extremely high maternal mortality rate in the wing where student doctors trained: it stood at more than 10 percent, at times going up to almost 40 percent.With this "very simple method" Semmelweis slashed the mortality rate "to almost zero," Kuenburg says.Other doctors demanded evidence, according to Kuenburg.Some 3.2 million people are affected annually by hospital-acquired infections within the EU, resulting in 100 deaths every day.Following the lead of a program piloted by Pittet in Swiss hospitals in the 1990s, rates of hand disinfection in Australia and certain Asian healthcare facilities are at approximately 85 percent.
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