3. Invisible Invaders: The Discovery of Germs and How They Cause Disease

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Shortly after 2:00 a.m. on a late-August night in 1797, Mrs. Blenkinsopp, midwife to the Westminster maternity hospital, hurried from the bed chamber, her pale face taut with anxiety. Three hours had now elapsed since she had delivered Mary’s baby girl, and something had clearly gone wrong. She quickly found Mary’s husband and gave him the alarming news: The placenta had still not been ejected; William must immediately call for help. The doctor arrived within the hour and, finding that the placenta was adhered internally, he began to operate.

But the surgery did not go ...

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