Puerperal fever is a disease that becomes epidemic in the eighteenth century as a result of two factors: the urban working masses generated by the industrial revolution and the progressive hegemonization and medicalization of birth care in large public hospitals. Institutionalized maternal death reached figures above 30%, while in the case of birth care provided by midwives, it was than 2%. Semmelweis, an Hungarian physician, sustained that physicians contaminated women in labor due to insufficient hygiene after performing necropsies and established prophylactic measures in the Vienna Hospital that reduced mortality dramatically. However, his ideas were rejected because they affected the institutionalization process of medicine, based on altruism and honor, which would make it impossible to cause harm to patients. He was forced to leave Vienna Hospital and he continued his struggle in Budapest, but the rejection and disagreement of his peers with his doctrine affected his mental health. He died in an asylum, a few years before Pasteur and Koch proved the existence of the bacteria that caused diseases such as puerperal fever.
|Translated title of the contribution||Institutional iatrogeny and maternal death. Semmelweis and puerperal fever|
|Number of pages||6|
|Journal||Revista Peruana de Medicina Experimental y Salud Publica|
|State||Published - 2013|