Introduction - General infection theory
Infection prevention is not of all times. Historically there is a development from the middle of the nineteenth century, where by trial and error a way is found to the current insights about infections and the resulting practices. It started in England, where in London in 1846 the first operation under 'narcosis' was carried out with the aid of the inhalation of ether. The operation was excellent and the patient had not felt anything. Triumphantly, the surgeon said goodbye and the patient was returned to the (overcrowded and dirty) patient room. After a few weeks, the patient unfortunately died of a serious wound infection. The tragic outcome of this operation did not stand alone. In British hospitals, one in three patients died after a successful operation, in almost all cases as a result of wound infections. Most doctors at that time thought that infections of the operation wounds were caused by air. The young doctor Joseph Lister who graduated in 1852 had other ideas about this. He established himself as a surgeon in Edinburgh, Scotland, and began his struggle in 1861 against the high mortality rate of patients after surgery. He began experimenting with antisepsis. This term comes from Greek and means 'against rotting'. As part of this new method, white coats were introduced for the personnel of the operating room. On this dirt was clearly visible, so that one could attract a clean coat in time. For the connection of wounds from now on only clean surgical gauze was used, which was an important improvement in wound care.
When Lister became acquainted in 1865 with the theory of the French chemist Louis Pasteur, who claimed that air in itself is not pathogenic, but that the 'microbes' in the air are responsible for the spread of diseases, he also started to experiment with it. use of disinfectants in medicine: antiseptics. With this, Lister has laid the foundation for the current measures for infection prevention in health care.