The New York State Department of Health unveiled a bust of Ignác Semmelweis in a lobby in the Empire State Plaza, in front of the entrance to the Biggs Laboratory on 24 April.

At the ceremony many medical and public health colleages, doctors and administrative officials from the State of New York paid tribute to the memory of the “mothers’ savior”who drastically reduced maternal mortality rates in maternity wards by introducing hand washing practices.

“The statue commemorates this practice: to remind us of a simple yet vital hand washing to prevent the spread of the disease. It is an honor for us to set up the monument and continue our efforts for best practices against infections, “said Dr. Howard Zucker, Minister of Health of the State of New York, after the speech of Dr. Jill Taylor, Director of Wadsworth Center.

“The evolution of medicine is evolutionary; revolutionary changes are rare. The discovery of Semmelweis is one of the revolutionary changes. He realized that hand washing with chlorine solution reduces sepsis. Semmelweis created the discipline of modern hand hygiene, which we consider to be fully valid today,” emphasized Semmelweis’s merits Dr. János Jakus, the US representative of the Semmelweis Memorial Committee in Hungary, Director of Gynecology and Obstetrics at the Montefiore Nyack Hospital.

After this, István Pásztor, Ambassador of Hungary’s Consulate General in New York, commemorated the mothers’ savior and then unveiled the bust which was created by Iván Paulikovics.

“May the statue of Ignác Semmelweis in New York commemorate the Hungarian physician and researcher, the Savior of Mothers! May it symbolize the triumph of dedication and science over denial and disbelief! On the occasion of the 200th anniversary of Semmelweis’s birth with the support of the Hungarian State. Semmelweis University, New York State Department of Health.” can be read on the pedestal of the statue.

Source, photo: WBPI New York