Excerpts from the Journal of Ignaz Semmelweis: a Misunderstood Observer in Medicine

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Excerpts from the Journal of Ignaz Semmelweis: A Misunderstood Observer in Medicine This is my first entry into my new journal. My name is Ignaz Phillip Semmelweis. The date is July 1st of the year 1846. I have just been appointed as assistant to Professor Johan Klein at the Vienna General Hospital.[i] I will be working in the First Obstetrical Clinic, where I will be supervising difficult births, teaching students obstetrics and trying to record my findings for future use by other doctors. That is probably why I am writing in this journal. I am not sure what will come out of me writing this. I hope to gain some retrospective, I believe I will get this by putting my thoughts to pen and pad. I have been trained at the finest of schools which leads me to believe I will do fine at my new job. My elementary education was at the Catholic Gymnasium of Buda, after which I went on to complete my schooling at the University of Pest.[ii] I then traveled to Vienna where I started school, not for medicine, but for law. My father thought it a good idea that I become a military advocate in the service of the Austrian bureaucracy.[iii] After a short time I decided that law was not for me, but medicine and the thought of saving lives appealed to me, maybe due to the time I spent growing up in the Catholic school system. My parents were upset, but they found it within themselves to condone my decision on becoming a doctor. I studied for one year in Vienna then decided to return home to Pest and work at local universities hoping to help and expand my learning.[iv] That was not a wise decision now in hindsight. The conditions were poor and underfunded to put them in a nice light, perhaps primitive would be more descriptive. I could not take much of this substandard practice that I was being taught and returned to Vienna to attend

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