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December 3, 1887

ECLAMPSIA.Read before the Section of Obstetrics and Gynecology, at the Thirty-Eighth Annual Meeting of the American Medical Association, June, 1887.

JAMA. 1887;IX(23):709-712. doi:10.1001/jama.1887.02400220005001a

Therapeutics, like dress, has its fashion, and often the treatment of disease as well as the pathology will change with the times. Nothing illustrates this better than the theories of its nature, and the treatment of eclampsia.

During the first half of the nineteenth century, puerperal convulsions were treated almost exclusively by free depletion, and all the works on midwifery declared that that was the principal remedy, far superior to all others; but after awhile, in consequence of the do nothing system of Hahnemann, and the moral precept against the shedding of blood, which began to prevail amongst the people, the doctors laid aside their lancets—which they had always carried—and forgot their skill, so that as the late Professor Gross declared, "bleeding became one of the lost arts."

This is particularly unfortunate in the treatment of convulsions in childbirth, which usually yielded sooner to depletion, than by any modern improvement.

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