Running head: CHILDBED FEVER 2
CHILDBED FEVER 2
Cherril Najwa Dixon
LaGuardia Community College
Most diseases can be expounded as some form that prohibits an organism from functioning effectively in its environment. Diseases can either be caused through Microorganisms, labeling it as a contagious disease or through a transmitted, nutritional, habitat or physiological impairment which would place it in the category of a non-transmissible malady. In the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century, Childbed fever struck women all over Europe and America. Although Childbed fever was considered an enigma, many Doctors like Ignaz Semmelweis and Oliver Wendell Holmes dedicated their time using the Scientific method to tackle this illness and figure out why so many young women were dying from this disease.
During the early nineteenth century, the practice of medical advances had overseen a drastic change. A vast amount of hospitals was built in vast cities. Therefore, with the hospitals came a plethora of Doctors and new medical students ready to train. On the contrary, with the new medical students attending births, thousands of young women began to suffer an die from Childbed fever. Typically, the symptoms began shortly after a woman had given birth or experienced a miscarriage (Lane, Blum, & Fee, 2010). In addition, symptoms like fever, abdominal pain, and debility caused acute pains. However, even though treatments like bloodletting was considered a therapy option, the disease progressed expeditiously and often became fatal (2010).
Oliver Holmes was exceptional, born into a family who had distinguished themselves in literature and medicine. Although Holmes main focus was literature, he went to study at influential schools in Paris and graduated from Harvard in 1843. Holmes sustained a small practice for twelve years, an found a fancy in research and teaching new medical students (2010). After hearing of the death of a physician who died after performing a postmortem on a woman who died from Childbed fever, Holmes began to research and investigate. For medical review in after reading “The contagiousness of Puerperal fever" in front of the Boston Society Medical in 1843, which was renamed as "Puerperal Fever, as a pestilence" in 1855: Holmes argued that physicians with unwashed hands were the cause of the transferring of Childbed Fever.
Similarly, a few years later Ignaz Semmelweis graduated from the medical university in Vienna, in 1846, Semmelweis was sent to Vienna General Maternity hospital as the head doctor of Division 1 (2010). Semmelweis noticed that in division 1 459 women died from Childbed fever. Semmelweis became obsessed with trying to figure out the cause of the disease and a way to preclude it (Bozzone & Green, 2014). Semmelweis kept anecdotal information: women who gave birth in division 2 and at home hardly contracted the fatal disease. Using the scientific method, Semmelweis observed possible causes he could cross out possibilities, like birth positions, miasma, and thinking the male students were too rough. However, nothing changed. In 1847 he investigated the death of a friend and fellow physician and found the same pus, putrefied tissue, and other abnormalities found in the “Cadavers” of the women who died from Childbed fever (2014). It was then that Semmelweis concluded that the corpse carried cadaverous particles that caused the disease. Semmelweis also concluded that those women who died had those same particles in their bodies, only doctors and medical students were doing autopsies, thus the transferring of the disease was from physician to patient. In addition, sterilization of equipment and latex gloves were not a part of the medical mandatory necessities in the 1840s (2014).
Like Oliver Wendell Holmes, Semmelweis had become the focus of a ferocious power struggle within the Vienna medical faculty, and his work became the subject of a resentful argument among European obstetricians (Lane, Blum, & Fee, 2010). Both Semmelweis and Holmes’s arguments ran directly against the disease theories of the time, that maladies were due to “miasmas” or “bad air,” or to the balance of humors within a patient’s body or environment (2010). Holmes was continuously bombarded by the leading Philadelphia obstetrician, Charles D. Meigs, who derided his oppositions as the “jejeune and fizzenless dreamings” of a sophomoric writer and declared that any practitioner who met with epidemic cases of puerperal fever was simply just not lucky (2010).
Universal precautions are now mandatory when it comes to anything medical. Unlike the mid-nineteenth century, practicing hand hygiene is a simple yet productive way to obstruct illnesses. Washing your hands can halt the unfurl of microorganisms, including germs that are resistant to medications and are becoming a difficult task to treat. More times than not, healthcare providers wash their hands less than they should, even with the signs all over the place, especially if they are seasoned physicians. On any given day, a patient can have an infection from the healthcare facility they went to.
Most diseases can be expounded as some form that prohibits an organism from functioning effectively in its environment. Diseases can either be caused through Microorganisms, labeling it as a contagious disease or through a transmitted, nutritional, habitat or physiological impairment which would place it in the category of a non-transmissible malady. In the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century, Childbed fever struck women all over Europe and America. Although Childbed fever was considered an enigma, many Doctors like Ignaz Semmelweis and Oliver Wendell Holmes dedicated their time using the Scientific method to tackle this illness. As the saying goes, use your hands to make some bubbles to kill those troubles.