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May 4, 1901


Author Affiliations

Professor Clinical Obstetrics, Medico-Chirurgical College; Physician to the Philadelphia Lying-in-Charity. PHILADELPHIA.

JAMA. 1901;XXXVI(18):1242-1244. doi:10.1001/jama.1901.52470180024001g

As the present year completes the nineteenth century and we are about to be ushered into another with all its responsibilities, it is natural for those of us who are interested in the history of midwifery to look over the past and also think of the possibilities of the future.

The remarkable advance which has been made, particularly in the latter half of this century, has revolutionized our science, resurrecting operations which were in the writer's student days spoken of only in condemnation. We refer to the classical paper on the "Contagiousnss of Puerperal Fever," by Oliver Wendell Holmes, in 1843; next, the work of Semmelweiss, of Vienna, in 1846, and later that of Pasteur in bacteriology, and its application to surgery by Lister. The works of these illustrious men have established forever the fact that the so-called childbed fever is an infection.

The antiseptic era has revolutionized obstetric surgery.