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Everyone is invited to attend the opening of the exhibition The Symbol of Semmelweis on December 2, at 2 p.m., located next to the Didžioji Auditorium. The event will be held in Lithuanian.

The exhibition has been developed by the Faculty of Medicine, Vilnius University, in cooperation with the Hungarian Embassy and the Semmelweis’ Museum of Medical History (Budapest, Hungary). It focuses on Ignaz Philipp Semmelweis, a Hungarian physician, obstetrician, and gynaecologist of German origin, who was the pioneer of antisepsis.

Similar to most fields of the history of science, medical history predominantly deals with discoveries, changes of scientific thought, investigations and argumentation. The accounts of personal issues, changes in the private lives of scientists or physicians are rarely taken into consideration. Who cares about whether William Harvey was happily married when he discovered blood circulation in 1629? Or what was the mental state of Pasteur when he launched his first publication about bacteriology in 1865?

However, the life of Ignaz Semmelweis, who discovered the cause of childbed fever and introduced a reliable prevention against it in 1847, belongs to the mainstream topics of medical history ever since he died in an asylum in1865. Why is it so? Why are people overwhelmed by the tragic life of a late doctor? What makes us moved when we learn about the fate of a man who vigorously stood up for a new solution, and against his best intentions and striking results failed to convince his generation of medical community?

This 10-stand exhibition covers Semmelweis’ discovery and its paramount importance to medicine, as well as explaining why, after his death, he became known as the “saviour of mothers”.

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