Who was Ignaz Semmelweis, Google’s March 20 doodle

Ignac Semmelweis is a Hungarian physician from the mid-1800s who discovered the importance of handwashing to stop infection from viruses and bacteria

Ignác Fülöp Semmelweis is the name of the character to whom Google has dedicated today's (March 20) doodle, which is the image or animated video that replaces the logo of the Mountain View company on the page of the search engine. Why is the figure of Ignac Semmelweis so important? And most importantly, what did he do?

Ignac Semmelweis is a Hungarian doctor who lived in the first half of the 1800s and is remembered for his important studies on bacterial contact transmission. He was the first doctor to discover the medical benefits of hand washing. This makes us understand why Google has decided to dedicate a Doodle to him in these days: one of the weapons to stop Covid-19 infection is just to wash your hands with liquid soap. The Mountain View company has decided to honor today the figure of Ignac Semmelweis because on March 20, 1847 he was appointed "Chief Resident" of the maternity ward of the hospital of Vienna, where thanks to the washing of hands of doctors was greatly reduced the number of mothers who died after childbirth. Here is the life of Ignac Semmelweis.

Ignac Semmelweis, life and studies

Ignac Semmelweis was born in Buda, Hungary, on July 1, 1818, into a wealthy family that allowed him to complete his medical studies in Vienna. Here he came into contact with the great scholars and doctors of the time and eventually decided to specialize in obstetrics, which at the time did not enjoy great prestige among doctors. In addition to following the specialization courses, he also continues to study the corpses of young women who died from gynecological diseases and operations. In the mid-nineteenth century, puerperal fever killed thousands of women each year and it was Ignac Semmelweis who found the cause. Puerperal fever is a disease that is transferred from one body to another as a result of the contact between doctors and students with the corpses of women and consequently with women in labor. The antidote to combat puerperal fever is very simple: wash your hands with a solution of chloride of lime before coming into contact with women in labor.

The intuition of Ignac Semmelweis proved to be correct and allowed to drastically reduce the number of young women who died of puerperal fever. Purtroppo il mondo della medicina non prese con entusiasmo la scoperta del giovane medico ungherese e anzi ostacolò l’idea che fossero gli stessi medici gli untori primari. Ignac Semmelweis fu screditato da tutta la comunità scientifica e finì in un manicomio dove morì per setticemia il 13 agosto del 1865. Solo negli anni successivi i suoi studi furono riabilitati, tanto da essere definito il “salvatore delle madri” e il “padre del lavaggio della amni”. I suoi studi sono stati fondamentali per capire come prevenire il contagio all’interno delle sale operatorie e anche per fermare la diffusione dei virus. Un’esperienza che in questi giorni stiamo conoscendo molto bene.

Nel ricordare Ignac Semmelweis, Google ha anche pubblicato un decalogo su come lavarsi le mani in tutta sicurezza..

lavaggio-mani-google.jpgFonte foto: Google