Professional Aspirations &
Irrational Rationales
of Medical Men

ELEVATION OF OBSTETRICS: “At the present time, Women’s clinics and idealistic clinical professors, such as I have sketched, do not exist in the country. Professors of this type would do more to elevate the standards of obstetrics than volumes of writing. They would teach students that the ideal obstetrician is not a man-midwife, but a broad scientific man, with a surgical training, who is prepared to cope with most serious clinical responsibilities, and at the same time is interested in extending our field of knowledge. No longer would we hear physicians say that they cannot understand how an intelligent man can take up obstetrics, which they regard as about as serious an occupation as a terrier dog sitting before a rathole waiting for the rat to escape.” 1911-B;WilliamsMD ^76

"If the profession would realize that parturition, viewed with modern eyes, is no longer a normal function, but that it has imposing pathologic dignity, the midwife would be impossible of mention."[1915-C; DeLeeMD p.117] ^77

Engelman says: “The parturient suffers under the old prejudice that labor is a physiologic act,” and the profession entertains the same prejudice, while as a matter of fact, obstetrics has great pathologic dignity ---it is a major science, of the same rank as surgery". [1915-C; DeLeeMD p. 116] ^78

"For the sake of the lay members who may not be familiar with modern obstetric procedures, it may be informing to say that care furnished during childbirth is now considered, in intelligent communities, a surgical procedure." [1911-D, p. 214] ^79

"If argument were needed to prove obstetrics a branch of surgery the statistics of the NY Lying-In Hospital for 1909-1910 might be used. Dr. McPherson reports 5,073 patients cared for, of whom 1,037 are classified as "operative", that is more than 20 % or one in every 5 [1911-D, p 214]

But all these arguments are unnecessary and insult one’s intelligence. I have visited many European clinics and I am convinced that the reason they are so far behind ours in their obstetric technique is because of the presence of the midwife and the low ideals she establishes (i.e., eschewing the routine use of interventions such as chloroform, episiotomy and forceps)." [1915-C; DeLeeMD] ^80

"I would refer to the paper of Drs. Emmoms and Huntington of Boston, read in Chicago four years ago. Their ideas are identical with mine. I am heart and soul opposed to any measure which is calculated to perpetuate the midwife. In educating her we assume the responsibility for her; we lower standards, we prostitute ideals, we compromise with wrong and I, for one, refuse to be particeps criminis." [1915-C; DeLeeMD] ^81

"For the lesser evil, we lose the greater good. Finally (the midwife) is not a necessity.. The rural districts are already getting along very well without her. The foreign population of the cities is being taken care of betterevery years and as their education improves, will also learn to do without her." [1915-C; DeLeeMD p. 123] ^82

"The energy directed to the training of midwives would bring greater results if spent on doctors. This would improve the conditions of the 60% -- and the 40% would be benefited indirectly, also."[1915-C; DeLeeMD, p.118] ^83

"The time of replacing this class of midwives by a body of well-trained women would not be as long as would be supposed, because the majority of women engaged in this occupation are well along in years and in the course of a short time will have dropped from the ranks, either by death or retirement." [1911-E;PriceMD] ^84

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