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That Mothers Might Live (1938) - Plot Summary Poster

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  • It's the mid-nineteenth century. As long as there have been hospitals, the joy that women have felt having just given birth in a hospital may be quickly marred by their sudden death due to what is known as childbed fever (also known as puerperal infections, any bacterial infection of the female reproductive tract following childbirth or miscarriage). Dr. Semmelweis eventually discovered the reason for the illness was mere sanitation, and the need for doctors to wash their hands after each procedure. Coming to this realization and convincing the world, especially the established medical community, are two different things. Dr. Semmelweis, who published a book on the subject, may not have gotten the recognition for this discovery during his lifetime as he tried to make his findings known and accepted, but that word would eventually spread to be commonplace and taken for granted as truth today.

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  • This short tells the story of Ignaz Philipp Semmelweis (1818-1865), a Hungarian physician. He was the first to realize that the deaths of new mothers could be significantly reduced simply by requiring doctors to wash their hands before treating a patient.


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