Google’s New Doodle Honors Ignaz Semmelweis, the Father of Infection Control

There are a lot of aspects about our modern day and age that we often end up taking for granted in a really big way, and a lot of the time this is because of the fact that we don’t realize what things were like before society changed for the better. The fact of the matter is that the latest Google doodle might just be a good example of how small changes can have big impacts on our society. The doodle is of Ignaz Semmelweis, a doctor who is widely considered to be a pioneer in infection control. It also contains instructions on how to wash your hands properly if you click on it, something that can be enormously useful in the wake of the current coronavirus pandemic that is taking over the world.

These days a doctor is going to scrub their hands quite thoroughly before taking part in any kind of surgical procedure, but this actually only started in the 19th century. Before that doctors and nurses didn’t feel the need to wash their hands. It was Semmelweis who noted that mothers often died from what appeared to be infections shortly after giving birth and this made him do some investigation which led to the possibility that doctors and nurses might be transferring bacteria and other kinds of germs from other patients they had treated. He was the first to suggest that washing hands before dealing with a new patient might just be a good idea.



Semmelweis was made Chief Resident at Vienna General Hospital where he made it mandatory for all staff to wash hands before dealing with a patient, and even though it took decades before this practice became commonplace with a lot of doctors being resistant to the change, eventually it became the standard as people saw just how much it decreased the overall chance of infections occurring. This was one of the biggest advances in medicine in a long time, and in the current coronavirus pandemic his contribution becomes even more prominent than ever before.



Read next: Apple Says Using Disinfectant Wipes on Your Device is OK Amid Coronavirus Concerns

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