Sunday, February 6, 2011

Medical arrogance - Just thinking here on a Sunday Afternoon

Whether you are fighting traditional medicine on the topic of autism, cancer, diabetes or any other malady. The fact remains that, true progress in medicine has always without exception has been violent resisted by medical authority who cling to the belief of their time. In 1840’s, Ignaz Sammelwies an Austrian obstetrician noted that over 20% that is 1 out of 5 women giving birth in the hospital died within 4-6 days later of puerperal fever. The women where then autopsied in the basement of the hospital. And the doctors who performed these autopsy wore not gloves. Can you imagine that!? Believe it or not they would then leave the autopsy room and go straight to the delivery room to assist other births without even washing their hands. Then Dr. Semmelwies’ good friend and fellow physician accidentally cut his finger during an autopsy. In 6 days this doctor dies of same signs and symptoms of puerperal fever. All of a sudden Dr. Semmelwies new. He realized that doctors were transferring the disease from the autopsy room to the delivery room and he urged his colleagues to simply wash their hands. For this unforgivable sacrilege, he was drummed out of the medical profession and he died in an insane asylum. Now today we have the same kind of arrogant commitment to belief in all areas of medicine.

Puerperal fever is now rare in the West due to improved hygiene during delivery, and deaths have been reduced by antibiotics. Dr. Semmelweis was not alone, although he was not aware, Oliver Wendell Holmes published published The Contagiousness of Puerperal Fever, Holmes' conclusions were ridiculed by many contemporaries, including Charles Delucena Meigs, a well-known obstetrician, who stated, "Doctors are gentlemen, and gentlemen's hands are clean."[1]. Semmelweis began experimenting with various cleansing agents and, from May 1847, ordered all doctors and students working in the First Division wash their hands in chlorinated lime solution before starting ward work, and later before each vaginal examination. The mortality rate from puerperal fever in the division fell from 18% in May 1847 to less than 3% in June–November of the same year.[2] While his results were extraordinary, he was treated with skepticism and ridicule.

1. Wertz RM, Wertz DC. Lying-in: a history of childbirth in America. New York: New York Free Press, 1977. Original reference is probably Meigs, Charles Delucena (1854). On the Nature, Signs, and Treatment of Childbed Fevers: In a Series of Letters Addressed to the Students of His Class. Original from Harvard University (Digitized Nov 30, 2007), Retrieved September 1, 2008: Blanchard and Lea, Philadelphia. p. 362 pages.

2. ^ Raju TN. Ignac Semmelweis and the etiology of fetal and neonatal sepsis. J Perinatol 1999; 19(4): 307-310.