Google ha dedicato il “doodle” di oggi a Ignác Semmelweis,
di cui il blog Fattore Erre si occupò il 10 giugno 2018. Semmelweis era medico ungherese, precursore della necessità di ”lavarsi le mani”. Per questa ”semplice” intuizione salvò migliaia di vite umane, ma in cambio ricevette l’odio dei suoi colleghi. Elementare Watson!!!
La vita di Ignác, cosi come pubblicata nel giugno 2018, viene qui riproposta in lingua inglese:
10 June 2018
SEMMELWEIS / Opera in one act at the Bartók Plus Opera Festival 2018
SEMMELWEIS is the Opera presented last night at the Grand Theater of Miskolc, a joint production between the Opera Festival of Miskolc and the BUDAPEST OPERETTA AND MUSICAL THEATER, inspired by the tragic story of dr. Ignác Semmelweis (1818-1865). On the occasion of the centenary of his death, the composer Raymond J. Lustig and the librettist Matthew Doherty have been inspired by the personal story of Semmelweis to investigate the troubled human mind between intuition, genius and prejudice.
Semmelweis was a Hungarian doctor who after several vicissitudes arrived at Ostetricia. Those were years when a terrible disease known as “puerperal fever” literally decimated women hospitalized in Vienna. He studied thousands of situations, did autopsies beyond the mortality of his ward to reach the conclusion that puerperal fever had a “generalized” source. This was enough to arrive at an extraordinary hypothesis for the time: puerperal fever was a disease that was transferred from one body to another following the contact that the doctors and the students present in the ward had before with the deceased women (on which autopsies were practiced) and immediately after with the women in labour who they went to visit in the ward. It was an intuition and an overwhelming theory for the times.
To prove it, Dr. Semmelweis forced the staff to wash their hands with a calcium hypochlorite solution, and all the dirty sheets were replaced where the pregnant women had been. The facts gave reason to Semmelweis and the statistics of mortality due to puerperal fever suddenly dropped. It was 1847. It took 40 years, before the discovery of Semmelweis was accepted and applied in a generalized manner and the demonstration of bacterial contamination was given by Pasteur only in 1864. Before then the discoveries of Semmelweis were discredited and the mortality due to fever puerperale surged again. Semmelweis was also fired.
Returning to Hungary, he applied the same method again obtaining a lowering of mortality due to puerperal fever and in 1861 he wrote “Etiology, concept and prophylaxis of puerperal fever”. But the scientific community had already hurled at him, even considering “the offense” as a result of the obligation to wash their hands before carrying out any activity in the various hospital departments. In the long run, because of the power of his superiors that limited his functions and generalized prejudices against him, Semmelweis went into crisis and felt “demolished” until his hospitalization in the asylum where he died in 1865 as a result of the beatings suffered by the guards of the Institute. The works of Louis Pasteur in 1879 and Joseph Lister in 1883 would have shown the greatness of Semmelweis’ insights.
Because of his brilliance and contributions to the study of bacterial contact transmissions and the prevention of puerperal fever, Semmelweis is now known as the “savior of mothers”. Since 1969, the University of Budapest has been renamed Semmelweis University in his honor. A monument has been built in his honor and it is possible to visit Semmelweis Museum of Medical History”. Since 2013 UNESCO has included some documents on the discovery of Semmelweis in the “Register of the Memory of the World”. On the occasion of the “Semmelweis Memorial Year 1818 – 2018″, Ignác is also remembered for the following aphorism: “My teaching is to save the wife for her husband and the mother for her child”.
The life of Dr. Semmelweis is extraordinary news when you think of the many scientists and independent authors “politically incorrect” who travel their paths flying far higher than the prejudices of others and the “trivial” authors in search of frivolous notoriety.
Last night’s show at the Miskolc Festival was a Première in Hungary, after the Opera had already received its baptism in New York at the National Art Club on the 11th of September 2017. The appreciated reviews of this performance have the aim of celebrating beauty, in the opening, for the female choir and, in the final part, for the inspiration given by the authors from an ancient Hungarian dirge. The central body of the Opera has had the merit of being able to represent in a symbolism, necessarily concentrated, the most representative passages of the life of Dr. Semmelweis. All this has been achieved through a cutting-edge technological scene. Although, from the point of view of music, for some critics present in the theater, the Opera risked to develop into a certain monotony, the final rewarded the protagonists with applause and many tributes received in the backstage.
Rocco Turi, da Miskolc