Medical Malpractice in Nineteenth-Century America

Origins and Legacy

Kenneth De Ville

NYU Press (publisher)

Highly readable . . . . interdisciplinary history of a high order.-- The Historian
Well-written and superbly documented . . . . Both physicians and lawyers will find this book useful and fascinating.-- Journal of the American Medical Association
This is the first book-length historical study of medical malpractice in 19th-century America and it is exceedingly well done . . . . The author reveals that, beginning in the 1840s, Americans began to initiate malpractice lawsuits against their physicians and surgeons. Among the reasons for this development were the decline in the belief in divine providence, increased competition between physicians and medical sects, and advances in medical science that led to unrealistically high expectations of the ability of physicians to cure . . . . This book is well written, often entertaining and witty, and is historically accurate, based on the best secondary, as well as primary sources from the time period. Highly recommended.-- Choice
Adept at not only traditional historical research but also cultural studies, the author treats the reader to an intriguing discussion of how 19th-century Americans came truly to see their bodies differently . . . . a sophisticated new standard in the field of malpractice history. -- The Journal of the Early RepublicBy far the best compilation and analysis of early medical malpractice cases I have seen . . . . this excellently crafted study is bound to be of interest to a large number of readers.-- James C. Mohr, author of Abortion in America: The Origins and Evolution of a National Policy

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