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Remarks on the Employment of Females as Practitioners in Midwifery. By a Physician.
Channing, Walter
Published by Cummings & Hilliard, Boston
Location of original: Countway Rare Books, Harvard University
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nature is not always sufficient, and that it is necessary to have some attendant to watch her operations and afford assistance when it is demanded. And it requires the same knowledge, the same education, the same mental resources, to determine when this is the case, as afterwards to decide on the course to be pursued.
  The nature and progress of the mechanical part of a simple natural labour can be easily explained, and may be comprehended by the most limited understanding. Where then is the danger of trusting these cases, which form allowedly a very large proportion, to the hands of an intelligent and well educated woman? I answer, that it is wrong to look on labour as a mere mechanical process; it is a process in which every part of the system more or less partakes. This is by no means the only thing to be attended to. The local situation of the infant may be every way favourable, and yet the mother may be dying from an affection of some other part of the system. No one can thoroughly understand the nature and treatment of labour, who does not understand thoroughly the profession of medicine as a whole. He must look upon it with the eye of a physiologist and a physician before he can comprehend its nature, its relations, or its objects. We should ridicule the man, who pretended to understand the functions of the stomach, if he were ignorant of what concerned all the other organs of the body, or if he should attempt to treat the diseases of the eyes, though ignorant of every first principle of surgery; and why is it not as absurd to expect that an individual shall have a

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