With regard to Mr. McKechnie’s letter to the editor, his name is Ignaz, not Ignac, Semmelweis. He was not a microbiologist but a physician working in the obstetric wards in the mid 1800’s in Vienna. Austria. Many women died after childbirth due to puerperal fevers as doctors saw it as a badge of honor to move from patient to patient with blood & tissue on their hands & clothes without washing their hands. Dr. Semmelweis deduced that puerperal fever could be drastically reduced by requiring hand disinfection in obstetrical clinics. Despite various publications of results where hand washing reduced mortality to below 1%, Semmelweis’s observations conflicted with the established scientific & medical opinions of the time & his ideas were rejected by the medical community. He could offer no theoretical explanation for his findings of reduced mortality due to hand washing & some doctors were offended at the suggestion that they should wash their hands & mocked him for it. In 1865, the increasingly outspoken Semmelweis allegedly suffered a nervous breakdown & was committed to an asylum by his colleagues. In the asylum he was beaten by guards & died 14 days later from a gangrenous wound on his right hand, probably from the beating.
Does any of this ring a similar bell to what is happening medically today? Mr. Milne’s subsequent letter to the editor makes some very good points that are ignored by the so-called scientific establishment. As the X-Files used to say, the truth is out there. Unfortunately, humans have to actually expend some energy to discover it which they, in most cases, aren’t willing to expend. This point is hammered home by David Byrne of The Talking Heads who so eloquently sings: same as it ever was, same as it ever was, same as it ever was!
Jim Cross, Quincy