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Title: The church on cesarean section in Malta in 1867
Authors: Cassar, Paul
Keywords: Cesarean section -- Malta -- History -- 19th century
Cholera -- Malta -- History -- 19th century
Authority -- Religious aspects -- Catholic Church -- History -- 19th century
Issue Date: 1969
Publisher: The St. Luke`s Hospital Gazette
Citation: Cassar, P. (1969). The Church on cesarean section in Malta in 1867. The St. Luke`s Hospital Gazette, 4(1), 48-52.
Abstract: This contribution was one of the entries which shared the prize in the British Medical Association (Malta Branch) medical essay competition for 1968. The background to the story was the cholera epidemic that hit the Island in July 1867. What sparked off the argument were the surgical and religious implications of post-mortem Cesarean section. In a circular dated 4th October 1867 addressed to the parish priests of his diocese, the Archbishop Mgr. Gaetano Pace Forno, reminded the clergy that it was their bounded duty to enjoin medical practitioners to perform the cesarean operation whenever the occasion offered in order that no opportunity was lost of saving the offspring or at least ensuring that it received baptism. The Archbishop went on to state that where no physician was willing to perform the operation, the parish priests were bound by their sacred office to call in a midwife or other expert person for that purpose and, in the absence of such a person, to carry it out themselves. On the 6th October, that is two days after the issue of the Archbishop’s circular, cesarean section was performed on a woman who had succumbed to cholera while in the 4th month of pregnancy; "the fetus outlived the mother for seven minutes and received baptism".
Appears in Collections:Scholarly Works - FacM&SMed
TSLHG, Volume 4, Issue 1
TSLHG, Volume 4, Issue 1

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