The Doctors' Plague by Sherwin B. Nuland
Germs, Childbed Fever, and the Strange Story of Ignac Semmelweis (Great Discoveries)

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"Riveting" (Houston Chronicle), "captivating" (Discover), and "compulsively readable" (San Francisco Chronicle).

Surgeon, scholar, best-selling author, Sherwin B. Nuland tells the strange story of Ignác Semmelweis with urgency and the insight gained from his own studies and clinical experience. Ignác Semmelweis is remembered for the now-commonplace notion that doctors must wash their hands before examining patients. In mid-nineteenth-century Vienna, however, this was a subversive idea. With deaths from childbed fever exploding, Semmelweis discovered that doctors themselves were spreading the disease. While his simple reforms worked immediately—childbed fever in Vienna all but disappeared—they brought down upon Semmelweis the wrath of the establishment, and led to his tragic end.

About Sherwin B. Nuland

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Sherwin B. Nuland, M.D., is the author of ten previous books, including How We Die: Reflections on Life’s Final Chapter which won the National Book Award. He is a clinical professor of surgery at Yale University, where he also teaches bioethics and medical history. He lives with his family in Connecticut.
Published November 17, 2004 by W. W. Norton & Company. 203 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Travel, Professional & Technical, Science & Math, Nature & Wildlife. Non-fiction

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When Semmelweis was refused reappointment to his position, he fled Vienna for his native Buda-Pest, having failed to perform experiments substantiating his claim, to make use of the microscope, or even to explain his work in a medical journal.

Oct 13 2003 | Read Full Review of The Doctors' Plague: Germs, C...

The New York Review of Books

In a retelling of the story for a series of medical biographies in 1988,6 he called Semmelweis “obdurate,” “obstinate,” and “stubborn.” Semmelweis displayed failings of character.

Feb 26 2004 | Read Full Review of The Doctors' Plague: Germs, C...

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