As the world faces the coronavirus pandemic, Google honoured Hungarian physician Dr Ignaz Semmelweis, who discovered the benefits of handwashing.
Google has replaced its homepage logo in nearly every country around the world with a Doodle honouring Dr Ignaz Semmelweis, “the father of infection control” and a pioneer in hand washing.
This doodle has an animated video showcasing the right way to wash your hands, while Semmelweis ticks the timer. It may be shocking to know that the washing of hands has not always been a common practice, even in the field of medicine.
In the mid 19th century, Dr Ignaz Semmelweis noticed that new mothers were frequently dying from unknown illnesses that began shortly after childbirth.
Dr Semmelweis proposed the possibility that doctors and other medical staff were inadvertently infecting these women with bacteria and other materials from their most recent patients.
As chief resident of the maternity clinic of Vienna General Hospital in Austria, a position to which he was appointed on this day in 1847, Dr Semmelweis required all staff to wash their hands between patients.
While his theory wasn’t commonly accepted among his contemporaries until decades later, the rate of infection at Vienna General Hospital went down sharply thanks to Dr Semmelweis’s efforts.
To celebrate the continuing impact of his findings, even as we deal with the COVID-19 outbreak, Ignaz Semmelweis is being honored with a video Google Doodle.
Google has also launched a helpful printable poster that includes individual instructions for the full hand washing process.
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