Review-sample� - Lisa Forman Codys Living and Dying...

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1 Lisa Forman Cody’s “Living and Dying in Georgian London’s Lying-In Hospitals” – A Review
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2 Lisa Forman Cody’s article “Living and Dying in Georgian London’s Lying-In Hospitals” puts forth a convincing argument to revise the negative view of the lying-in hospitals between 1749 and 1760 in London. Cody’s sources give this depiction of the activity at British Lying-In Hospital credibility over those who have only used published sources, which are both limited and likely to be biased by another agenda, such as the anti-men midwives pamphlet Petition of the Unborn Babes (December 1751) written by Frank Nicholls. Cody uses archived records of British Lying-in Hospital as well as minutes of the governing board’s meetings to reconstruct daily life there, to show that lying-in hospitals are not deserving of their negative reputation, nor were men midwives deserving of the blame. The British Lying-in Hospital is the specific example used of how these institutions supported the role of female midwives and altered the experience of childbirth in mostly positive ways by the continuation of childbirth rituals and making this ideal of childbirth more attainable for poor women. Negative perceptions of lying-in hospitals stemmed from the hospital’s first epidemiological crisis in 1751. Overcrowding in hospital wards was not understood to facilitate disease spread so the blame fell on the other ‘novel’ component: male midwives who used instruments. Cody concludes several things: that mortality rates were reasonable for the time period and are largely explainable, that accusations of cruel practises are unsubstantiated, that the link between men midwives’ instrument use and misogyny is invalid, and finally, that women continued to pursue admission, showing that they thought childbirth at a hospital was
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This note was uploaded on 01/05/2012 for the course HPS 319 taught by Professor L.dacome during the Fall '11 term at University of Toronto- Toronto.

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Review-sample� - Lisa Forman Codys Living and Dying...

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