CHIROPRACTIC History Lesson 101

CHIROPRACTIC History Lesson 101  

Dr. Ignaz Semmelweis

Not every important milestone in healthcare was generally accepted. Just like Chiropractic was not generally accepted until basically, we had to sue the American Medical Association. Even still, damage had been done, and will continue until we can rise above the egos, bigotry and ignorance and look at what’s best for the patient, period.
With Memorial Day 2011 upon us I reflect upon the history of Patient Care and those that sacrificed so others could have. How does this relate to Chiropractic? Well, it actually relates to healthcare and the acceptance of something new.

I would choose hand washing over Vaccines for the best discovery in medical history.  Yes, hand washing. Something so obvious to us today.  It had to go through a rigorous attack before it was seen as acceptable.

Hand Washing in Medical History

Ignaz Semmelweis discovered Hand washing in 1847 in Vienna Austria. Semmelweis overseen two clinics.  The clinics had varied mortality rate of up to 35% and the other considerably less at 4%. The cause of death, Puerperal fever. Women would demand and plead to be taken into the lower hospital. They would even deliver in the streets to avoid this disease. Semmelweis took notice to this.  And, discovered the only difference was doctors where performing autopsies in the clinic with the higher death rate. He suggested that the doctor who performed dissections on cadavers wash their hands.  And, suggested using a chlorine solution to sterilize themselves before they delivered. He suggested that the doctors carried cadaver parts on their hands.  Which, transmitted them to the mother upon examination.

Going against the grain

The statue of Ignaz Semmelweis in Semmelweis University courtyard.

This idea was published in December 1847 but was attacked as unscientific by leaders in the medical community of Vienna.  This was do to it was only and observation (really it was case studies in today’s level of evidence). However, Semmelweis, seeing positive results continued to force doctors to wash their hands. And, the mortality rate declined to under 1% by 1855.

People continued to speak out against the idea, even with the death rate declining.  And, several counter studies were done “proving” that the cause of death was not Puerperal fever. ( again no credit given to the result that hand washing was doing some good but to criticize the details of what disease is it).

How is this related to Chiropractic?

Chiropractic has a cloud of gloom over it.  It started out by the Chiropractic board literally suing the Medical Association because they thought we were similar to hand washing.  There wasn’t enough proof that what we do is scientific.  In fact, it was almost witchcraft like.  However, we have studies proving the angles of the spine and what degree each bone should be.  Studies show the affect of text neck to the current population.   I can measure how forward your head is translated after a car accident.  This is science.  Quite is amazing.  This is proof you are getting better or not.  We don’t just go by “feeling”.  We can measure.  This is huge.

The stress began to take its toll on Semmelweis.  His health began to decline. He was admitted in 1865 to a mental hospital.  And, soon died. Shortly after his death, Louis Pasteur would confirm the germ theory of disease as we know it today, proving Semmelweis’ findings.

Your Grand Rapids Chiropractor, Dr. S Health 1st Chiropractic Sources: