The Semmelweis reflexSemmelweis reflex is the instant reflex where one rejects any new finding, discovery or an idea because it contradicts with the already set norms. Although it is a scientific term, it can be observed in our daily lives as well. Many times it happens that youngsters try to explain something to the older generation but they don't accept it as it contradicts their already set beliefs.
There is an interesting story about how this name was given to this phenomena. Semmelweis was a physician in a renowned hospital. In that hospital, a strange thing started happening. Whenever a woman used to come there for delivery and went to the doctor's/ medical student's ward, she used to catch fever after the child birth and die in some time. On the contrary, any woman going to the midwife's ward used to survive after the child birth. If you think about it, it is quite strange that if someone is going to a doctor she is going to die. So the women giving birth at home itself had more chances of surviving than the one going to a doctor.
Semmelweis noticed this strange thing; he thought that there is something that these doctors are not doing right. He observed that the doctor used to perform autopsy/ handle cadavers and then with those hands only used to attend to mothers in labor. He thought that the mother catches fever because doctors' hands are contaminated due to some germs from the corpse. He suggested that if doctors wash hands with chlorinated water which is a disinfectant, the whole problem could be solved. This suggestion of Semmelweis was ignored by the medical community. He was insulted and dismissed from the hospital. They thought that it was a stupid idea as they are doing the same thing from years and why should they change it now.
He was really hurt and angry. He started writing angry letters to various doctors calling them as murderers. People including his wife thought that he had gone mad. He was sent to an asylum where he died within two weeks allegedly because of severe beating by the guards. After sometime, Louis Pasteur came up with the germ theory which supported Semmelweis' hypothesis. His hypothesis was accepted after a long time since his death. When doctors started using chlorinated water, the death rate decreased drastically. For this useful idea, Semmelweis is also known as savior of mothers and after him, the term Semmelweis reflex was termed.
So, do you now feel that we should be open to new ideas and must be ready to accept changes without being too serious about what we already know or practice?