|Jonathan Rhys Meyer|
as Henry VIII
in "The Tudors"
Because it wasn’t a simple fever. Childbed fever was a bacterial infection caused by one thing: doctors not washing their hands.
Doctors, who were usually gentlemen, thought their title and status was enough. “Doctors are gentlemen," Charles Meigs of Philadelphia’s Jefferson Medical College said, arguing against hand-washing, stating that “gentlemen's hands are clean.” But stats and facts obviously said different. In fact, there were far fewer deaths of mothers who had children born at home than those cared for by doctors in hospitals, proving that the doctors habits of not washing their hands between patients created periodic epidemics of childbed fever deaths.
Now, sanitary measures have all but eradicated childbed fever, or if contracted, it can be treated with antibiotics. Just another reason to be thankful we live in modern times with soap dispensers at every sink, anti-bacterial sprays and gels, and Wet Wipes.//Nancy