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ST. THOMAS'S HOSPITAL
SMITH & EBBS, LTD., NORTHUMBERLAND ALLEY, FENCHURCH STREET, E.C,
St. Thomas's Hospital Gazette.
Midwifery practice of the
Present Day, and the training required for it.
A paper read at the Medical & Physical Society on November 30th,
J. S. FAIRBAIRN.
I. THE TRAINING OF THE STUDENT.
We can speak with some pride of the way our men are trained in medicine and surgery and in gynecology, but we certainly cannot flatter ourselves in any way of our efforts to teach practical midwifery. This statement is not meant to apply to any one medical School, nor to any one part of the country. It is true equally of London, of the Provinces and of Scotland. Sir William Sinclair in an address given at Manchester some 18 months ago said,-“ In England the instruction of the medical student in practical midwifery remains simply deplorable. It is the most prominent defect in medical education in this country. It is a discredit to our intelligence, a reproach to our civilisation, and makes us a laughing stock to the foreigner. Strong, exaggerated, intemperate language! Not at all. No articulate speech which I can command would be adequate to the situation." To anyone who will contrast the prominent part which midwifery plays in the work of general practice with the trivial amount of clinical teaching given to the student, Sir William Sinclair's words will not appear in any way unreasonable.
The reason of the inferiority of our midwifery training is twofold:
(1) The system of training which has grown up in this country, which may be briefly described as letting the untrained and inexperienced student loose in a maternity district with scarcely any supervision, and trusting that he may gain a certain modicum of wisdom and experience without disaster to his patients.