This is an absorbing account of the continuing battle to control hospital infections, from the earliest days of hospital care when bad air or miasma was thought to be the cause, to the present day and the emergence of antibiotic-resistant 'superbugs' such as MRSA and necrotizing fasciitis. It succeeds on many levels: as a fascinating social history of hospital care from mediaeval times, when patients endured verminous conditions, to the present day; as a survey of the rise, fall and emergence of new nosocomial infections; and as a chronological account of the emergence of medical microbiology and infection control. The pivotal roles of key personalities such as Joseph Lister, Florence Nightingale, Louis Pasteur and Robert Koch are highlighted, and the history of this subject illuminates not only why hospitals and infections have had such an intimate and long relationship but one that seems destined to continue well into the future.
Table of Contents
Foreword by Bill Newsom; Preface; 1. Theories of infection: magic to miasmas; 2. Middle Ages to seventeenth century: hospitals and infection; 3. The eighteenth century: hospitals and infection; 4. The eighteenth and nineteenth centuries: typhus in military and civilian hospitals; 5. The eighteenth and nineteenth centuries: lying-in hospitals and puerperal infection; 6. The nineteenth century before Lister: military hospitals and wound infection, civilian hospitals and 'hospitalism'; 7. Theories of infection: miasmas to microbes; 8. Antisepsis to asepsis; 9. The twentieth century: hospital design and miscellaneous infections; 10. The twentieth century: emergence of antimicrobial chemotherapy and the demise of the haemolytic streptococcus; 11. Sterilization, the development of sterile services and disinfections; 12. The mid-twentieth century: the emergence of antibiotic-resistant Staphylococcus Aureus; 13. The mid-twentieth century: gram-negative infections; 14. The control of staphylococcal and gram-negative infections; 15. Surveillance of infections and organisation of infection control; 16. New and re-emerging infections; 17. The past, present and future; Index.
Shortlisted for Royal Society of Medicine Prize 2005.