When the fetus is stillborn or the infant dies within a few days after its birth, frequently we are unable to determine the cause of death. This fact has been emphasized in the statistical analyses recently published from two American institutions. At the Sloane Hospital for Women1 among 10,000 consecutive confinements there were 429 stillbirths and 291 infants which died within two weeks after they were born. Reviewing an equal number of confinements at the Johns Hopkins Hospital, J. Whitridge Williams2 found 705 cases of stillbirth and early infant death. The fetal mortality in these clinics, it would seem, is practically identical. And in both series of statistics it is instructive to find that, although careful clinical observations and postmortem examinations were made, the cause of death was not ascertained in roundly 20 per cent, of the fatal cases.
Some time ago my attention was called to a
SLEMONS JM. PLACENTAL BACTEREMIA. JAMA. 1915;LXV(15):1265-1268. doi:10.1001/jama.1915.02580150039011