I was in bed with a heavy cold and a hot-water bottle, feeling sorry for myself as the rest of the family had gone to the beach, when the title of a slim volume on the shelf beside the bed caught my eye: The Tragedy of Childbed Fever
by Irvine Loudon (2000).
99) is inspired by Alexander Gordon, an 18th century doctor in Aberdeen, when the city was in the grip of puerperal fever, or childbed fever
11) The cause of this condition was unknown and as the germ theory of disease had yet to be discovered, the prevailing belief was that childbed fever
and other epidemics were due to miasma, "a bad quality to the air.
Semmelweiss discovered the basis of childbed fever
after observing physicians in his hospital coming from the autopsy room and treating obstetrical patients without washing their hands.
Doctors had many suspicions about the cause of the disease they called childbed fever
Semmelweis, a resident in Vienna during Beethoven's time, was distressed that one in four women in the care of hospital physicians died in childbirth, of childbed fever