1. What were Semmelweis’ initial observations?
Answer: Semmelweis’ initial observation was the death rate of women after childbirth.
2. What was the problem at hand?
Answer: The problem at hand was more women were dying after childbirth in the ward with male physicians and fewer were dying in the female physician ward.
3. What possible explanatory story might Semmelweis come up with? Answer: An explanatory story that Semmelweis might come up with could be that the women physicians are more understanding to the female anatomy than the males.
4. How might Semmelweis test his suspicions?
Answer: Semmelweis might test his suspicions by going to the female physician side and observing the way the females work compared to the way the men work.
1. What might Semmelweis now propose as an explanatory story? Answer: Swmmelweis’ explanatory story might be that there is some sort of infection linked to the death of women and his friend.
2. How could Semmelweis test his new hypothesis?
Answer: He could test the women and his friend that died for infections to see if that is the cause of death.
1. What conclusions can be drawn from Semmelweis’ experiment? Answer: Hand washing was the conclusion to Semmelweis’ experiment. He realized that cleanliness was a necessity in keeping the patients from getting very sick and dying.
2. How might Semmelweis revise his original hypothesis or his experiments to gain additional information? Answer: Semmelweis could possibly observe if that is what the female physician ward was doing all along to reduce the rates of mortality among the women they were treating. He may also not only do hand washing but begin to sanitize all equipment before patients are treated.
1. When presented with what appears to be unequivocal evidence in support of hand washing, why might Semmelweis’ colleagues have dismissed his ideas? Answer: Semmelweis might not have had much evidence to back up the fact that hand washing alone would slow the mortality rate. There was still women dying from childbirth and for those few women there was no explanation.
2. How else might Semmelweis have approached the problem of disseminating his research findings in order to ensure their acceptance? Answer: He could have studied into the hand washing longer and found other things that supported the mortality rates of the few that were dying. He could have also had other people who believed that hand washing was the solution to help support and explain his ideas to his colleagues.
3. What, if any, role did serendipity play in Semmelweis’ story of childbed fever? Answer: I do believe that serendipity did play a role in the story of childbed fever because if Semmelweis’ friend would have never “accidentally” cut his hand while performing the autopsy from a women who died from the childbed fever and showed the similar symptoms, the research might not have been studied as fast or might not have come up with a solution to the problem of infection (sepsis).