Fillers One hundred years ago

Military midwifery

BMJ 2005; 330 doi: (Published 10 March 2005) Cite this as: BMJ 2005;330:593

American Medicine of December 24th contains a communication from Major Charles E. Woodruff, Surgeon U.S. Army, in reply to one by a Chicago physician who had implied that the opinions of “an army surgeon of several campaigns” on obstetrics and maternal impressions were of no particular value. Whereunto Major Woodruff makes the somewhat startling reply that American army surgeons are really obstetricians. “They are supposed,” he says, “to be official experts in the speciality of military medicine, including all the branches of camp and barrack sanitation, relations to health of clothing, climate and food, modifications of civil surgery found necessary in the same classes of cases far from modern operating rooms, whether found on the battlefield, lines of communication, or in temporary sheds in dirty surroundings, where a modern surgeon would not dream of operating, diseases peculiar to troops, anthropology as related to the selection of recruits, and a host of other sub-branches about which a civil physician never bothers. But, legally, army surgeons are specialists in only one thing—obstetrics.” (BMJ 1905;i: 145)

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