Washing hands of the status quo

It just so happens I have been thinking about Ignaz Semmelweis lately.
Semmelweis was a 19th century doctor who made a revolutionary discovery that was rejected by his peers.
He was puzzled by the fact women who gave birth in one of the two clinics in the Vienna Hospital did not have as high a mortality rate from childbirth fever as those in the other clinic.
In one clinic, doctors attended the patients often after carrying out autopsies in the hospital morgue.
In the other, midwives did the majority of the care.
Semmelweis wondered if there was something on the hands of the doctors that caused the patients to become sick.
He decided to wash his hands after examining dead bodies before visiting his maternity patients, and discovered this made the difference between women dying or not.
His discovery was not well received by his colleagues.
It is a no-brainer for us today but back in his day, the men he worked with were affronted by the thought they could be killing their own patients with poor hygiene.
Even when confronted with documented evidence they largely rejected his ideas.
Semmelweis campaigned passionately for about 20 years to no avail.
Even his own wife thought he had lost his mind and he was committed to a mental asylum, where he died shortly after.
It was not until the work of Louis Pasteur years later that Semmelweis’ work was recognised.
His story is inspiring on many levels.
He is proof the majority is not always right and sometimes the status quo needs to be challenged.
He was also a man of integrity and stuck to his guns even when everyone thought he was insane.
It takes great courage to stand up against the crowd and Semmelweis never faltered even to the extent of being ostracised.
I always remember Semmelweis when life gets a little challenging.
Although, to be fair, the obstacles I face are minor compared to what he went through.
He is also a reminder that just because new ideas can be challenging and confrontational, they should not be dismissed without careful consideration.