Semmelweis: Hungarian doctor in the 1800s, worked in Vienna. He was terribly concerned about the high death rates of women in childbirth in the hospital where he worked. He noted that patients who delivered babies in teh street had a lower mortality rate than mothers delivering babies in the hospital. Through careful study of conditions, he realized that mothers died of childbirth fever because doctors did not wash their hands after examining corpses of victims of infection and before examining the women in the maternity wards. He insisted that doctors should wash their hands between patients, and for his troubles was fired, ridiculed by the rest of the medical profession, and he died a sad, bitter man, certain that his colleagues were killing women through their pigheaded refusal to take time to wash their hands. He was right.
Lister- physician who discovered that surgery conditions should be antiseptic to prevent infection. Was mocked and ridiculed by his medical colleagues, who did not want to bother with the extra time and trouble it took to sanitize the surgery.
Paul Gillett, a consultant microbiologist at Stoke Mandeville Hospital, where 12 patients have died and 300 have been infected, took early retirement after what colleagues said was a long struggle to get the problem of hospital infections taken seriously.
Protests were growing last night that the hospital in Buckinghamshire did not take necessary measures to tackle the infection. The bug, a virulent new strain of Clostridium difficile, which causes severe diarrhoea and can be life-threatening, has resisted all attempts to control it since the outbreak began 18 months ago.
…Two years ago, Dr Gillett is understood to have established an isolation ward at the hospital to treat patients with hospital- acquired infections, but it was closed by managers because of a shortage of nurses.
“He complained that managers were prepared to make a fuss but not to spend the money. He resigned in protest at the way things were going ,” a colleague said.
…David Lidington, Conservative MP for Aylesbury, the area served by the hospital, said yesterday: “This is shocking news. Thousands of patients will be wanting an explanation and a promise everything necessary is being done to eliminate this.”
Mr Lidington said he would press local health managers and health ministers to explain why Stoke Mandeville was the only hospital affected and why the outbreak had persisted for almost two years.
“If it is true a consultant microbiologist at the hospital has resigned, I would call for a clear explanation from the trust as to what has happened.”
Bed occupancy at the hospital had routinely been above 90 per cent, which was too high, he said. “Hospitals have got to treat patients in the minimum time so they can never leave a bed unoccupied or allow a ward to be disinfected. Will the Government now give local managers power to put hygiene first, even if it means breaching national targets for waiting times?”
Managers were accused of failing to inform staff about the outbreak of the new bug. An in-house publication called The Bug Buster, circulated to hospital staff at Stoke Mandeville, failed to highlight the new strain of C. difficile.