Charles Delucena Meigs

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Charles Delucena Meigs
Charles Delucena Meigs (1792 -1869) bw2.jpg
Charles Delucena Meigs
Born February 19, 1792
St. George, Bermuda
Died June 22, 1869(1869-06-22) (aged 77)
Philadelphia, United States
Institutions Jefferson Medical College
Known for Obstetrics

Dr. Charles Delucena Meigs (February 19, 1792 – June 22, 1869) was an American obstetrician of the nineteenth century who is remembered for his opposition to obstetrical anesthesia and to the idea that physicians' hands could transmit disease to their patients.


Meigs was born February 19, 1792, in St. George, Bermuda, the son of Josiah Meigs and Clara Benjamin Meigs.[1] He died June 22, 1869, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

He graduated in medicine at the University of Pennsylvania in 1817. In 1818 he was awarded an honorary degree of M.D. from Princeton University. Meigs specialized in obstetrics and was for a long time the acknowledged leader in this branch of medicine. In 1841, he became professor of obstetrics and diseases of women in the Jefferson Medical College, until his retirement in 1861.[1]

Meigs was a lifelong opponent of obstetric anesthesia. In 1856, he warned against the morally "doubtful nature of any process that the physicians set up to contravene the operations of those natural and physiological forces that the Divinity has ordained us to enjoy or to suffer".[2] He also opposed the idea that doctors could convey childbed fever (a disease) on their hands on the grounds that "Doctors are gentlemen and a gentleman's hands are clean".[citation needed][3]

He was active as a translator from French. His translation of Gobineau's Typhaines Abbey was published in 1869.[4] Until his death he corresponded with the book's author.[citation needed]

A son, Montgomery C. Meigs (1816–1892), achieved distinction as Quartermaster General of the U.S. Army during the American Civil War.



  1. ^ a b Dr. Charles Delucena Meigs (#219) Archived May 16, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.. Retrieved on 2012-02-29.
  2. ^ Charles Delucena Meigs ( 1792–1869 ). Retrieved on 2012-02-29.
  3. ^ This statement or variations of it is often cited in modern-day works, generally without citation; e.g. [1]. It appears to be a simplified/distilled version of a much longer quote by Meigs in "On the nature, signs, and treatment of childbed fevers" (1854), 104.
  4. ^ Count Arthur de Gobineau (1869). Typhaines abbey: a tale of the twelfth century. Translated by Charles D. Meigs. Philadelphia: Claxton, Remsen and Haffelfinger. 

External links[edit]

Media related to Charles Delucena Meigs at Wikimedia Commons