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Poor women who could afford neither physicians nor midwives were better off because they did not undergo the intervention of professionals who came hotfoot, bearing pathogens, from other births.
Midwives were better at physicians, that was in part how Semmelweis discovered the importance of washing hands. And physicians came not only from other births but also from things like autopsies.
Best was probably having a midwive coming to the home. That was the practise up here until the physicians monopolised childbirths through legislation.
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Despite various publications of results where hand-washing reduced mortality to below 1%, Semmelweis's observations conflicted with the established scientific and medical opinions of the time and his ideas were rejected by the medical community. Some doctors were offended at the suggestion that they should wash their hands and Semmelweis could offer no acceptable scientific explanation for his findings. Semmelweis's practice earned widespread acceptance only years after his death, when Louis Pasteur confirmed the germ theory and Joseph Lister practiced and operated, using hygienic methods, with great success. In 1865, Semmelweis was committed to an asylum, where he died of septicemia at age 47.
we reserve usually for those who come to show us what should be obvious...
"I would rather have questions that can't be answered than answers that can't be questioned." - Richard Feynman
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