Letter to the Editor Received: January 7, 2015 Accepted: March 25, 2015 Published online: May 13, 2015
Gynecol Obstet Invest 2015;80:71 DOI: 10.1159/000381899
Historical Aspects of Lithopaidion Samuel Lurie Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Edith Wolfson Medical Center, Holon, and Sackler School of Medicine, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel
grew and eventually it opened and began to produce pus…. and then a bone came away from the place; then a few days passed and another bone came out; …. I formed the opinion that these were bones from a dead foetus. So I investigated the place and got out many bones belonging to the head of the foetus.’ (2) One of the first descriptions of lithopaidion occurred in Vienna, Austria in the 16th century . Marguerite Walezer went into labor following an apparently uneventful pregnancy in 1545. At some point during labor the fetal movements and labor pains ceased. Neither midwives nor physicians were able to deliver the dead fetus or the placenta. Marguerite, therefore ‘resolved to let nature take its course and bore with exceeding pain for the space of four years this dead corpse in her stomach’ . After 5 years, on November 12, 1550, she was operated on and a dead macerated
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fetus was extracted from the abdominal cavity. Marguerite soon recovered and even conceived again 9 years later in 1559.
References 1 Santoro G, Laganà AS, Sturlese E, Giacobbe V, Retto A, Palmara V: Developmental and clinical overview of lithopaidion. Gynecol Obstet Invest 2014;78:213–223. 2 Lurie S: The History of Cesarean Section. New York, Nova Science Publishers, 2013, p 51. 3 Albucasis: On Surgery and Instruments; a definitive edition of the Arabic text with English translation and commentary by Spink MS and Lewis GL. London, Welcome Institute of the History of Medicine, 1973, pp 480–482. 4 Loudon I: A five-year pregnancy. J R Soc Med 2003;96:245–247. 5 Boaistau P: Histoires Prodigieuses; Ms 136. Wellcome Library for the History and Understanding of Science. Milan, Franco Maria Ricci, 2000.
Prof. Samuel Lurie Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology Edith Wolfson Medical Center Holon (Israel) E-Mail drslurie @ hotmail.com
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Dear Sir, I have read with interest the brilliant review on lithopaidion by Santoro et al.  that was recently published in Gynecological and Obstetric Investigation. I have two comments that may further elucidate the historical aspects on lithopaidion: (1) Abul Qasim Al-Zahrawi (known in the West as Albucasis, 936–1013 AD) was one of the most renowned surgeons of the Muslim era . Albucasis is mainly famous for his treatises on surgery, ‘Kitab Al-tasrif li man aiaz an-il-talif’ (‘The Book of Enabling Him to Manage Who Cannot Cope with the Complications’), which was the leading textbook on surgery in Europe for about 500 years . Indeed, in that treatise Albucasis  described the first known reference to ectopic (abdominal) pregnancy that led to lithopaidion: ‘Now I myself once saw a woman who became pregnant…. and after a long while she got a swelling in the umbilicus which