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Alexander Gordon: A Practitioner Marginalized within his Community and the Medical Profession

An epidemic of childbed fever (i.e., puerperal fever) arose in Aberdeen, Scotland between 1789-1792. Alexander Gordon (1752-1799), a physician for the Aberdeen Public Dispensary, treated many of the women who became ill and kept records of each case in which he was consulted. He realized that midwives and physicians were the connecting link between cases, and thus he concluded that it was an infectious disease carried by midwives and physicians from patient to patient. This paper first examines the nature of Gordon's arguments, and then it explores why his views about the infectious nature of puerperal fever were not accepted ...
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