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September 26, 1885


JAMA. 1885;V(13):354-355. doi:10.1001/jama.1885.02391120018005

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Why so much obloquy should attend the obstetrical forceps throughout its intricate history, it is difficult to say. In 1723, Johann Palfyn, the surgeon of Ghent, presented to the Academy of Paris a crude obstetrical forceps, termed manus ferraæ Palfynianæ. About the same time, De la Motte heard rumors of the existence of a more perfect instrument. He rejected the possibility of the obstetrical forceps, but sagely added, that if such a thing could be true-seeing that it was false—and the inventor should die without publishing his invention, he deserved that a vulture should prey upon his entrails throughout eternity. For seventy-five years, such an instrument had existed, and was the family secret of the Chamberlens. From its invention by Peter Chamberlen (born 1601, died 1683), every modification of the forceps has been the subject of bitter contention. In very recent times, we have been compelled to listen to Tarnier's

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