1940: How to Telephone Your Doctor

My little sister Jen is expecting her third child, and is currently on bed rest ~ at the hospital!! ~ until the kid is born, hopefully within a few weeks. Other than the circumstances early Saturday morning that brought her there, she and baby are doing fine and she just needs to stay put rather than chase my nieces (ages 3 and 4) around the house. She should enjoy her quiet time while she has the chance!

She’s obviously on my mind a lot these days, so I thought I’d look to the books for some advice that might help her out. While she’s close enough now to her doctors that this might not be necessary, the following still seems like wise, if not fairly obvious, advice, to me: “Under all circumstances, talk to the doctor yourself if at all possible. To relay questions and answers back and forth through a third party is not only likely to result in a misleading story for the doctor, and garbled advice for you, but trebles the time consumed by the call.” This might be particularly handy for Jen, who once, after some procedure, had me call her doctor to ask when the pain would stop.

By the way, this quote was found in Nicholson J. Eastman’s Expectant Motherhood (Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1940). Don’t worry, he’s a guy, yes, but he knows a little something about the topic. His credentials back then were listed as: Professor of Obstetrics at Johns Hopkins University; and Obstetrician-in-Chief to the Johns Hopkins Hospital.