The Semmelweis Effect

I was speaking with a fellow Fluoroquinolone (FQ) sufferer the other day when the idea for this article was born.  We were discussing the frustration that every FQ sufferer encounters when trying to get a doctor to listen to us, to believe in the credibility of our claims, and to treat us like we actually know what we are talking about. Yes, I know, I have written about this very subject before in previous articles like “Falling into a Hole” and “Connecting the Dots”, but I believe that this is a subject that will continue to need discussion until we get the attention of the medical community.

Ignaz PIgnaz Semmelweishilipp Semmelweis was a Hungarian physician who discovered by 1847 that the incidence of disease could be drastically cut by the use of hand disinfection or washing.  Semmelweis discovered that a common sickness that was prevalent in mid-19th-century hospitals and often fatal, with mortality rate of 10%–35%, could be prevented by simple hand washing. As a matter of fact Semmelweis proved and published in various publications the results where hand-washing reduced the mortality rate below 1%.  Semmelweis discovered this well before Luis Louis Pasteur confirmed the germ theory.

So, since Semmelweis was a physician and discovered something that was obvious, easily proven, and could clearly save lives, his ideas were welcomed among the medical establishment of the day, right?  Wrong. Semmelweis’s observations conflicted with the established scientific and medical opinions of the time. Semmelweis’s main finding, that all instances of a certain disease could be traced back to only one single cause: lack of cleanliness, was simply unacceptable to his colleagues. His findings also ran against the conventional wisdom of the day and contrary to all established medical understanding that diseases spread by other mechanisms. As a result, his ideas were rejected by the medical community. Some fellow doctors were offended at the suggestion that they should wash their hands; they felt that their social status as gentlemen was inconsistent with the idea that their hands could be unclean.  Specifically, Semmelweis’s claims were thought to lack scientific basis, since he could offer no acceptable explanation for his findings. Not until decades later, when the germ theory of disease was developed by Louis Pasteur, Joseph Lister, and others, did Semmelweis’s discoveries prove to be totally correct. Semmelweis is now recognized as a pioneer of antiseptic policy

All patients, especially those with a chronic medical condition, have trouble from time to time getting their doctor to listen to them.  Mind you, this is from patients who have known medical maladies. Now couple this with malady that the medical establishment is woefully ignorant about, or denies exists, and you have what the typical FQ victim suffers from. They suffer from, what I call, the “Semmelweis effect.”

The Semmelweis effect takes place when a credible, articulate, intelligence patient presents a plausible mechanism for their medical problem, in the absence of any irrefutable diagnosis, and is dismissed by the medical establishment.  All FQ victims have either experienced the Semmelweis effect themselves or have known another sufferer that has experienced it.  It is common place, especially at the facilities such as Mayo clinic where opened mindedness for medical research is suppose to be a hallmark.  I have personally spoke to several FQ sufferers, who gone to the Mayo clinic, whose motto “The needs of the patient comes first”, only to have  their theory on FQ toxicity rejected;  Despite the fact that Mayo clinic cannot come up with any definitive diagnosis on their own.

So there we have it, just like Ignaz Semmelwies, our pleas to look at the evidence are basically ignored and dismissed by the medical community, while decent people, undeserving their fate, suffer.  So the next time a doctor looks at you, like you have three heads, ask him “Do you know who Ignaz Semmelwies was?”



...damaged by fluoroquinolones in 2007 at age 46. Prior to, a healthy law enforcement official. Now an amateur FQ researcher, author, and blogger.

1 Response

  1. Catherine Nichols Pogorzelski says:

    Besides being affected by Fluoroquinolones, Cipro & Levaquin, co-prescribed BOTH at the same time to me by Jefferson Hosptial-within one month of the Black box warning for doing so in July 2008, I have the dubious honor of having been harmed by Gadolinium from MRI’s. IF it weren’t for the doctors I have been to throughout the years, DENYING the existence of my current LYME INFECTION, gone unnoticed, since ’86, I would EVER have had 13 MRI’s with contrast; some being for retention of BARIUM form a swallow test in 2008 discovered on 20120 which I still have in me (words of chief of surgery sat Hahnemann Hospital “good luck TRYING to get that out of you!” I NOW have what I term, MY MRI TOXICITY-TWIN TOXES, if you will; I test POSITIVE for SYTEMIC SCLEROSIS, LUPUS AND LYME, I TEST NEGATIVE FOR SJOGREN’S YET HAVE ALL SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS when I got to doctors in major medical centers, FOR DERMATOLOGY, ENT AND/OR RHEUMATOLOGY, SUCH AS HSU AT ROBERT WOOD JOHNSON, ROTHFIELD AT UCONN, RAO AT ROBERT WOOD JOHNSON, FETT AT UPENN, CASEY AT JERSEY SHORE, KENNEDY AT UPENN, ROSEN AT JEFFERSON, SCHEINFELD & SCHIMMER AT HSS NY CITY, WERTH AT UPENN, THEY Blame all my symptoms on SJogren’s, they IGNORE POSITIVE blood tests and ignore what is visually found upon exam when I point out things like Peau’ dorange on my chin I am told it’s a Rosacea-there aren’t any red marks at all , my skin is literally scarring and hardeing from theinside out, you can SEE scars in my hands where i never have been cut, my tendons in my legs have pitting in them and I test positive for high amounts of Gadolinium in urine and some found in serum/blood-the medical community KNOWS how to shift the blame-when they KNOW it is a drug that caused your problems-they will DENY it because the drug companies are who paid for some of them to have their research funds, especially people like Vivien HSU at RWJ- they’d rather fill people full of poisonous drugs then take the wait and see attitude-WE ARE THEIR LAB RATS I AM WARNING EVERYONE ON NEWER LINE DRUGS!!! I’ ve been told “Besides there are no treatments for Systemic Sclerosis” anyway! as if that matters-I need to know what I have IN ME to get it out of me and it’s so I don’t get worse down the road; i DO have contrast in my bowel and I will get it out!

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