Sex and Suffering
Sex and Suffering is a ground-breaking work. It tells the often shocking story of women's desperation to gain control over their lives and their health, and of medicine's struggle to comprehend and manage the mysteries of nature.
It offers a graphic and revealing history of childbirth in Australia; of the medical care of women; of nursing and gender roles; and of the impact of immigration on Australian society.
Remarkably, thousands of detailed case notes, from the 1850s to the 1930s, survived intact at the Royal Women's Hospital, Melbourne. For the first time in the English-speaking world a historian was allowed to work directly from these confidential patient records.
Janet McCalman vividly recreates the lives of patients and the daily work of a hospital. She enables readers to follow the institution through times of growth and economic depression, through the grim history of criminal abortion, and through the inspiring story of medical science and surgery since the coming of anaesthesia.
Sex and Suffering is a vivid and absorbing social history of women's health, seen through the work of Australia's oldest women's hospital.