Sunday, May 20, 2007

Tender Loving Care

As late as 1920, the death rate among infants in some American hospitals was as high as 100%. Then Dr Fritz Talbot of Boston brought from Germany an unscientific concept called “tender loving care.”

In a children’s clinic in Düsseldorf he had noticed an old woman wandering through the hospital usually balancing a sick baby on her hip. His guide said, “That is old Anna. When we have done everything we can medically for a baby and it is still not doing well, we turn it over to old Anna and she cures it.”

The American scoffed at the notion that touching would improve their care but statistics soon convinced them. In Bellevue Hospital in New York, when they established the rule that all babies must be picked up and mothered several times a day, the infant mortality rate dropped from 35 to less than 10%.

Geoff Pound

Image: Old woman with child.