Nurturing Children: A History of Pediatrics
This history of the evolution of pediatrics from the beginning of recorded civilization examines chronologically the medical and societal antecedents of current child care. Although the term pediatrics is modern, the book explores the antecedents that facilitated the evolution of pediatric care as a separate discipline and a unique science. These antecedents include ancient manuscripts and the writings of acknowledged medical classicists, and the works of physicians in the East who recorded the medicine of the ancients, their own original theories, clinical observations, and experience, and exported their wisdom to the West.
The book's point of view demonstrates that healers from the beginning of recorded time understood the unique physiology of the infant and the distinct nutritional and medical needs of the growing child. Despite this recognition, centuries of poorly applied medical principles prevailed in the general population as adjuncts to societal conditions that included war, pestilence, ignorance of the pathophysiology of disease, and the exploitation of labor. In this milieu, suffering was universal. Pediatrics came into its own when richer, more stable societies had the time, energy, and resources to provide for the most vulnerable of their subjects. Motives included economic self-interest as well as altruistic demand for social reform.
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