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September 19, 1908


JAMA. 1908;LI(12):965-968. doi:10.1001/jama.1908.25410120009002

The gravity of puerperal fever, its widespread prevalence, and its persistence in spite of all the safeguards thrown about the puerperal patient by the adoption of modern aseptic precautions, make any addition to the literature of this subject acceptable.

It is, unfortunately, the almost universal custom to call every septic fever occurring during the puerperium "puerperal fever," and this arises from the fact that bacteriologic examinations are not made often enough to determine the exact cause of the fever, and thus properly to classify the variety of the disease. In the light of our present knowledge, it is as manifestly improper to call a diphtheritic genital infection in the puerperal woman "puerperal fever" as it would be to call a malarial infection occurring during the same period by a similar name.

We know that true puerperal sepsis is one of the most fatal infections we are called on to treat,

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