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By Gyorgy Gortvay, Imry Zoltan

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Habit had not made Semmelweis indifferent to the suffering of women. The honest, noble young man was greatly perturbed, and he could not reconcile himself to the idea that high mortality should be an inescapable fate of labouring women. He was deeply moved by the ravages of this form of death: there had been months when as much as 30 per cent of al1 labouring women died in childbed fever. The shock produced by tis first experiences in clinical work gave rise to his decision to throw in his feverish energy and knowledge to save all labouring women from this dreadful end.

Five clinics (Clinica quinque): two medical clinics, the 1st for physicians (Clinicum medico-practicum), the 2nd for surgeons (Clinicum medicum pro chirurgico) with eight beds: 3. surgical clinic (Clinicum chirurgicum practicum) with nine beds; 4. obstetric clinic (Clinicum obstetricum) with 15 beds; 5. ophthalmological clinic (Clinicum oculisticum) with nine beds. 7. A c~lIection of surgical instruments placed in six cupboards (Instrumentarium chirurgicum). 8. Institute for veterinary medicine (lnstitutum veterinarium).

But no sooner had he established himself in the clinic that he found himself face to face with the ancient curse of midwifery, childbed fever. The high mortality rate of labouring women was a constant anxiety for medical science at the time, and it had not escaped the attention of the young doctor, either. Habit had not made Semmelweis indifferent to the suffering of women. The honest, noble young man was greatly perturbed, and he could not reconcile himself to the idea that high mortality should be an inescapable fate of labouring women.

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