| that there is not usually an exposure
of person to the eye. Professor Bedford, in his edition of M. Chailly's
Midwifery, says, 'I hold it to be a rule which the pupil should ever keep
in memory, that the feelings of the patient are always to be sacredly regarded,
and on no account should there be an unnecessary exposure of her person.'
This rule, if observed, mitigates the impropriety a little, and but a little,
and the immoral tendency of the occupation still remains. The professor's
sacred regard for the feelings of patients would be better manifested by
encouraging the education of midwives.
Dr. Bedford's rule is very liable to be disregarded. Indeed,
Dr. Gooch, another professor, says, "We can examine patients in humble
life as we please." Mr. R., in a large town, some twenty miles distant,
said an old doctor, late of that place, famous in midwifery, used to come
joking into the lying-in room, and throw the lady's dress over her head
with the utmost good humor. The young doctors, occasionally with him, were
put to the blush; but it appears they have become less sensitive since,
as two of them have made trouble in families , by improprieties. It would
seem, too, that the freedom of this obtuse old man-midwife and the younger
ones had depreciated the morals of the place, by making easy mothers
and, consequently, easy daughters. For a physician there stated publicly,
to show that doctors were no worse than the rest of the community, that
in one case in thirteen the young married people there had an heir unlawfully
soon after the wedding ceremony.
As to exposures, Dr. Ramsbotham, in speaking of the Bandage,
to be applied after the delivery, says, it should be fitted next to the
skin, and be so wide as to reach from the pubes almost to the ensiform cartilage;
and, thus requiring exposure, he thinks, 'that there is something highly
indelicate in its being applied by a man,' and that it should be applied
by the nurse; and that 'the nurse must know very little of her duties,'
if she could not do it. On the contrary, Dr. McPheeters, in the St. Louis
Medical and Surgical Journal, copied into the Boston M.&S. Journal,
says, 'Too much attention cannot be paid to the subject of bandaging. In
the first place, it should be applied and properly adjusted by the physician
himself.' -- A doctor, in this city, recently attended a young woman, and
applied the bandage. Afterwards, in conversation with another lady on delicate
topics, he significantly remarked, that 'Mr. C.'s
wife was a very pretty woman.' It came back to Mr. C. and wife,
that the doctor thought her a specimen of symmetrical beauty. They do
not intend further to trouble curious doctors to do midwives' and nurses'
work. Another doctor of this city visited a young woman, of 17, three
days previous to her first confinement, and examined her each day. She
felt wretchedly about it, wept, and asked the older women if such things
were usual and necessary.
When lecturing in Lynn, last fall, several of the citizens
spoke before the audience, approving of my course, and corroborating my
statements with additional facts. Among others, a gentleman, known in
the literary world, said he thought the business should be in the hands
of women; said a doctor there, on seeing a beautiful lady enceinte,
passing in the street, elbowed a friend, and said, 'I shall like to attend
that lady by and by, to see her handsome person.'
Mrs. Ruth Stebbins, before spoken of, said the young
doctors of Suffield, Ct., when speaking of attending the young wives on
the first occasion, called it 'halter-breaking them.' And, rejoicing in
their occupation, 'There,' they would say to each other, as they looked
out into the street, 'there goes one that I halter-broke a few weeks ago
-- and there, yonder comes another that I shall break in soon.' Suppress
your indignation, reader, and go earnestly about correcting this libidinous
system. -- Dr. K., of M., in this state, remarked to the publisher, that
he had heard young physicians, in their confidential chats, boast of having
committed adultery with women, when their husbands were in the house at
the time. --The other professions together do not furnish a tithe of the
minor and gross improprieties that grow out of the present medical practice.
I have matter on this head sufficient for quite a volume. Yet, of course,
comparatively little leaks out to the public, and but a small part of
that would fall in the way of any one person. Well does Dr. Ewell call
it 'the secret history of adultery.' When there grows up a 'mutual confidence,
let me say affection,' other things follow naturally.
Dr. A., from this city, located in the western part
of the state, had an intrigue with the landlord's wife. The husband remained
ignorant of it for some years. It came to his knowledge, crushed his spirit.
He lived on a few years in wretchedness, and committed suicide. This system
is the deadly Upas to domestic happiness. -- Dr. B., of Salem, hav-