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August 6, 1910


Author Affiliations

Professor of Surgical Gynecology and Obstetrics, Detroit College of Medicine DETROIT

JAMA. 1910;55(6):475-477. doi:10.1001/jama.1910.04330060027008

When I was in active obstetric practice, twenty-five or thirty years ago, I saw many cases of puerperal sepsis, especially in consultation and coming from the hands of midwives. We were then just beginning to practice antiseptic midwifery and our great object was to kill the germs. Hence, we began to use various remedies that we supposed would destroy micro-organisms, such as phenol and mercuric chlorid, and I used these faithfully as vaginal douches and by intra-uterine irrigation. Then the fad of iodoform started, and I plead guilty of even introducing the stinking suppositories into the uterine cavity and letting them melt there.

But it soon was clear to me that there was not much difference in the ultimate result, no matter what kind of local treatment we made use of—that the real aim was asepsis, the prevention of puerperal fever.

I then found the best result by cleaning out

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