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Obstetrics & Gynecology:
doi: 10.1097/01.AOG.0000168452.10067.27
Current Commentary

Simpson, Semmelweis, and Transformational Change

Grant, Gilbert J. MD; Grant, Abraham H. MD; Lockwood, Charles J. MD

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Abstract

The first anesthetic for childbirth and the first recognition of the importance of hand hygiene in obstetrics coincidentally occurred within 5 months of one another in 1847. More than 150 years later, one would have thought that these milestone events would have been fully integrated into practice. However, individuals resist transformational change, which is defined as a fundamental alteration in their beliefs, attitude, and behavior, even when they are confronted with incontrovertible facts. This resistance to change may explain why, in 2005, a large percentage of health care providers still do not practice acceptable hand hygiene, and the pain of childbirth continues to be extolled by some as a necessary part of womanhood, just as pharmacologic pain relief is discouraged.

© 2005 by The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Published by Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.

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