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December 17, 1887

FORENSIC RELATIONS OF THE PUERPERAL MENTAL STATE.Read in the Section on Medical Jurisprudence, at the Thirty-Eighth Annual Meeting of the American Medical Association, June, 1887.

JAMA. 1887;IX(25):777-779. doi:10.1001/jama.1887.02400240009001d

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Abstract

The mental state of the puerperal female has not received the attention its forensic importance merits from lawyers and physicians, owing to the erroneous lay opinion, shared by many members of the medical and legal professions, that pregnancy is now, what it once was in the history of the race, a normal physiological process.

Pregnancy, if regarded in this light, stands alone, since no other physiological function presents the pathological phenomena: pulmonary, cardiac, gastric, renal, cystic, nervous and other disturbances characteristic of pregnancy. Even "labor," that terminates pregnancy, is characterized by the pathological phenomenon "pain." It is illogical to speak of a condition in which pain is present as a physiological state. Pregnancy unattended by pathological phenomena is the rare exception, so rare that it may well be doubted whether these cases are properly observed, since too little attention is paid to nervous and mental phenomena that do not reach

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