A statue of Hungarian physician and scientist Ignác Semmelweis has been inaugurated at the Queen Mary University of London Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry.
At the ceremony, jointly organized by the university and the Hungarian Embassy in London, Márta Korbonits, Professor of Endocrinology at Queen Mary and Professor Emeritus, Professor of Medicine at Semmelweis University in Budapest, László Rosivall paid tribute to the life and work of the Hungarian physician, who was born 204 years ago and is considered the ‘savior of mothers’.
The event was attended by Oscar-winning British actor Mark Rylance, who read excerpts from the play ‘Dr. Semmelweis’, (based on his idea and himself starring in the title role), which is running in Bristol. The main plot of the play is the often bitter and largely futile struggle of Ignác Semmelweis, who recognized the cause and cure for puerperal fever (also known as ‘childbed fever’), to get the medical community of his day to accept his life-saving methods of infection prevention and hygiene.
The statue was unveiled by the President of Queen Mary University, Professor Colin Bailey and the Hungarian Ambassador in London, Ferenc Kumin.
There are statues of Ignác Semmelweis in many cities all around the world, including Tokyo, Krakow, Chicago and Vienna, but the Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry at Queen Mary University of London is the first British university medical school to erect a statue of the Hungarian doctor of tragic fate.
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