New reprint edition.
Since the middle of the twentieth century, the development of plastics has been one of the main factors influencing the history of medicine. For example, an anaesthesiologist was formerly an expert in delivering drugs by inhalation. Today, this expert delivers drugs through plastic catheters, in particular via intravenous and epidural routes. Traditionally, the scalpel was the symbol of surgery. Today, surgeons operate on internal organs with flexible plastic endoscopes - without cutting the skin. A typical modern woman in labour has one of her arms connected to a plastic bag through a plastic tube, while a plastic catheter is inserted in the epidural space in her spine. Focusing on obstetrics, this first book about the history of medicine in relation to the plastic revolution asks vital questions about childbirth today - and tomorrow - and demonstrates that the current turning point in the history of childbirth is also a turning point in the history of humanity. Introduced as a medical student to the surgical unit of a Paris hospital in 1949, and still involved in several fields of medicine, Michel Odent has the authority to study contemporary history from this new perspective.