# Case Study Demonstrating the Scientific Method

Case Study Demonstrating the Scientific Method Name: Eagle ID: CASE STUDY OVERVIEW: • Ignaz Semmelweis (.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ignaz_Semmelweis”>http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ignaz_Semmelweis ) was the head of obstetrics in 1846 at Vienna General Hospital • That year 459 women died from childbed fever in one of the Divisions at the hospital (Table 1). • His goal (and yours!) is to determine the cause of this disease. A FEW EXTRA PIECES OF INFORMATION: • The hospital had two divisions: 1 and 2 • Division 1: Doctors and medical students delivered babies (after doing autopsies in the morning) • Division 2: Midwives delivered babies • In Division 2 mortality rates were much lower • Around the same time one of his colleague’s died of a massive infection he was able to determine the cause through an autopsy of childbed fever • This colleague was stuck in the finger by a scalpel during an autopsy on a woman who died of childbed fever TABLE 1: Mortality rates for the First and Second Clinic at the Vienna General Hospital 1841–1846. First clinic Second clinic Year Births Deaths Rate (%) Births Deaths Rate (%) 1841 3 036 237 7.8 2 442 86 3.5 1842 3 287 518 15.8 2 659 202 7.6 1843 3 060 274 9.0 2 739 164 6.0 1844 3 157 260 8.2 2 956 68 2.3 1845 3 492 241 6.9 3 241 66 2.0 1846 4 010 459 11.4 3 754 105 2.8 QUESTIONS: 1. Provide a hypothesis for the observations made by Ignaz. 2. Given your hypothesis what would your prediction be? 3. How would you test your hypothesis? (Provide a brief description of an experiment that you would design) 4. What would you expect to discover in your experiment? 5. Now you have a “result” from your experiment what would you do?

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