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The Semmelweis Effect

The Semmelweis Effect

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When new knowledge is presented we sometimes have a tendency to dismiss it out of hand. This is especially true of information that contradicts our current opinions and core beliefs. It is true of us all regardless of our intellectual ability or educational achievement.
This Semmelweis Effect was named after Dr. Ignas Semmelweis. Semmelweis made one of the biggest discoveries in medical history yet his peers dismissed his proven, life-saving breakthrough resulting in thousands of needless deaths and injuries.
When new knowledge is presented we sometimes have a tendency to dismiss it out of hand. This is especially true of information that contradicts our current opinions and core beliefs. It is true of us all regardless of our intellectual ability or educational achievement.
This Semmelweis Effect was named after Dr. Ignas Semmelweis. Semmelweis made one of the biggest discoveries in medical history yet his peers dismissed his proven, life-saving breakthrough resulting in thousands of needless deaths and injuries.

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Categories:Types, Research, History
Published by: The World Fire Safety Foundation on Oct 23, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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The reflex-like tendency to rejectnew evidence or new knowledgebecause it contradicts establishednorms, beliefs or paradigms.
The Semmelweis Effect
TheSemmelweisEffect28Oct12.pdf
| Published: 22 Oct 12 - Updated: 28 Oct 12 | Latest version:www.scribd.com/doc/1108386961 of 5© Copyright Oct, 2012 Richard M Patton FPE, CA, USA |www.
FireCrusade
.com The World Fire Safety Foundation thanks Mr Richard Patton for permission to reproduce this report (see note at the top of page 2)
Semmelweis Statue
Budapest, Hungary
Dr Ignaz Semmelweis 1818 ~ 1865
Semmelweis University
Budapest, Hungary
Semmelweis Coin
Austria
PageContents
123 ~ 45Cover & Contents
 
(this page)
Richard M Patton - Testimonials & CredentialsThe Semmelweis EffectMore . . .
The Story of Dr Ignaz Semmelweis
byRichard M Patton FPE
The Semmelweis Effect
Check for 
 
Latest Version
 
TheSemmelweisEffect28Oct12.pdf
| Published: 22 Oct 12 - Updated: 28 Oct 12 | Latest version:www.scribd.com/doc/1108386962 of 5
© Copyright Oct, 2012 Richard M Patton FPE, CA, USA |www.
FireCrusade
.com The World Fire Safety Foundation thanks Mr Patton for permission to reproduce this report
“ 
During the mid 1800s Dr. Ignaz Semmelweis repeatedly proved that the high death rate in maternity wards across Europe was caused by unsanitary procedures.However, his peers resented his claims that they were responsible for the deaths. They refused to implement Semmelweis’s idea of washing their hands after surgery or post-mortems. They ridiculed and defamed him while continuing to transmidisease. This refusal to change, because it contradicted existing norms or beliefs (which later became known as the ‘Semmelweis Effect’), led to thousands of needless deaths.Tragically, a frighteningly similar situation exists today.Richard Patton has been a U.S. Fire Protection Engineer since 1951. Some of his achievement include: - Developing America’s (and the world’s) first fire detection code (i.e. safety standard) for homes,-Developing the concept of a residential fire sprinkler system,-Winning a global award for his ‘Life Safety Sprinkler System’ for commercial buildings,- Being the first person to warn about ionization smoke alarms with his 1976 ‘Smoke Detector Fraud’ report.Mr Patton has claimed for decades (with compelling evidence to substantiate his claims), that some fire codes (i.e. safety standards), fire research and fire industry businesses have been underlying factors in hundreds of thousands of wrongful injuries and deaths. He has been slandered, defamed, financially harmed and has had his life threatened.Mr Patton is 86 years old. He lives with his new wife in California. He still writes prolifically to reveal the truth and save lives. I sincerely hope that unlike Dr Semmelweis, Mr Patton is vindicated in his lifetime. If so, thousands of needless fire deaths and injuries around the world every year will finally be brought to an end.” 
Adrian Butler, Chairman, World Fire Safety Foundation, NSW, Australia. Oct, 2012
“Few people in this world make a major contribution to the welfare of their fellow men in their lifetime. It has been a privilege for me to have met you. In my opinion you are one of the few exceptional men that I have known. You are making a major contribution to the total co mmunity.” 
Joe Randall, Director of Planning & Inspection, City of Fresno, CA, USA. Dec,1973
“Your words of advise and encouragement have reminded me of my responsibility to continue my quest for fire safety and public education. Thank you . . . for your continuing efforts to make America a safer lace from the disastrous effects of fire.” 
Chet Bowman, Fire Chief, City of Anaheim, CA, USA. Sept, 1987
Richard Patton’s Credentials
:
www.FireCrusade.com/pdfs/RMPattonCredentials.pdf
 
Richard M Patton FPE - Testimonials & Credentials
         §         §         §
 
far below the death rate in the other ward. During somemonths the death rate in the first ward was zero. Of course,Dr. Semmelweis petitioned other doctors throughoutEurope to follow his lead and institute rigid sanitation procedures. However, there was big trouble on the horizon.
The inescapable conclusion of the findings of Semmelweis was that it was the
doctors
who wereresponsible for the deaths.
Not only the students, but thedoctors were contaminating the expectant mothers. Theywere spreading the “cadaverous material” from one womanto the next within the ward. They were
not
washing their hands while examining, or birthing.Semmelweis’s associates soon concluded: This guySemmelweis and his theories are causing us great pain.
Heis claiming that WE are the reason why these poorwomen are dying.
That cannot be. We are the saviors, notthe killers. Semmelweis is a danger to us and to the publicas well. He must be controlled.When his term at the hospital expired he was dismissed.Road blocks were erected to his career. He was essentially blackballed for his ideas. His associates considered histheories to be damaging to their profession and they did notconceal their views. He left Vienna in 1850 a bitter man,unable to further endure his frustrations and the ugliness of his associates. But he continued to devote his life to savetoday is probably at least 500 billion dollars a year. Thedeaths and injuries are a national disgrace.Many years ago I realized that the number of serious fireswithin buildings, including homes, could be reduced to near zero.
Further, I proved that this virtual elimination of serious building fires could be accomplished with a netreduction in in fire protection expenditures
. However,one problem I encountered was that most people do not believe this to be possible.Of course, it was impossible for man to fly until man didfly. The world was obviously flat until it was proven to beround. The assumption is that if it were possible to virtuallyeliminate serious building fires it would have been donelong ago. It did not happen; therefore it could not happen.There is another important reason why the elimination of serious fires within homes and other buildings concluded to be “impossible”. It’s called the “
Semmelweis Effect
”.Dr. Ignaz Semmelweis (1818 – 1865) was a Hungarian physician. During 1847 he was working in the ViennaGeneral hospital’s
First Obstetrical Ward 
where themortality rate for mothers was three times the rate of theSecond Ward. The First Ward’s mortality rate wasapproximately 10 percent. At the time no one knew whatwas causing the deaths, which were termed
puerperalfever
or simply “
childbed fever
”. Desperate women oftenfell to their knees begging that they not be assigned to the“death ward”. Among all the doctors, it was Semmelweiswho was most concerned. He attempted to find the reasonfor the death rate disparity between the two wards.One day an associate of Dr. Semmelweis, Dr. JakobKolletschka, was nicked by a scalpel during an operation.A few days later Semmelweis’ friend succumbed with adeathly pallor, similar to the way the women looked whennear death. Dr. Semmelweis concluded that perhaps therewas some “cadaverous material” that could be passed fromthe sick to the healthy. That would explain why the FirstWard was suffering the high death rate. Medical studentswent to the autopsy room in the morning, where they would perform operations on cadavers. Then they proceededdirectly to the
First Obstetrical Ward
where they wouldassist in the births -
without first washing their hands.
Semmelweis concluded that the students might be carrying
cadaverous material 
” directly from the dead bodies to themothers in labor. He initiated a strict routine where all whowould assist in a birthing would first wash their hands witha chlorinated solution. The death rate plummeted, falling
The Semmelweis Effect
The Story of Dr Ignaz Semmelweis
TheSemmelweisEffect28Oct12.pdf
| Published: 22 Oct 12 - Updated: 28 Oct 12 | Latest version:www.scribd.com/doc/1108386963 of 5
F
ires within buildings are very common. This isespecially true of home fires. There is nearly a millionserious building fires every year. The cost of 
Ignaz Semmelweis
1818 - 1865
 
Semmelweis reduced childbirthmortality tenfold at his Austrian Hospitalby promoting hand washing. His provenidea was viciously attacked by most of hispeers, many of whom would not listen to,yet alone adopt his proven proposition.In 1965 Austria issued this
postagestamp marking the 100th anniversary of his death.Ignaz Semmelweis
Louis Pasteur
1822 - 1895
 
After Semmelweis’s death, Pasteur,a French chemist, was credited with
“discoveries that reduced mortality from puerperal fever” with his 
 
germ theory
 
’.He is best known to the public forinventing a method to treat milk andwine (pasteurization) to prevent it fromcausing sickness.
Semmelweis Proven Right ... AFTERTens of Thousands of Needless Deaths
Louis Pasteur 

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