Actually, it was prior to the advent of handwashing.
Puerperal fever, the great maternal killer, was almost always a result of poor attendant sanitation.
Hospital mortalities declined significantly post introduction of sulfa drugs and even more significantly post antibiotics.
My mom was one of the first kids in this state to receive antibiotics after surgery for appendicitis.
But yeah, Semmelweis was a genius. Too bad the ‘establishment’ shunned his ideas and killed women for decades afterwards.
So much for established medical ‘consensus’ being the best guide for effectiveness.
That worked out great for the H. Pylori guys too. They nearly lost their licenses to practice with that idea. Who ever knew most ulcers might have a bacterial cause.
Good thing consensus was wrong then too. My hubby was treated for that.