One of the most important discoveries in the history of medicine was that of the obstetric forceps, and some have called the forceps “the most valuable of all surgical instruments.” Unfortunately, however, the Chamberlen family kept the discovery a secret for several generations, thus depriving millions the use of this life-saving device.
Original Chamberlen Forceps (late 17th century)
Peter (the elder) Chamberlen and later family members regrettably hid his extremely important discovery from the medical profession and from the public. Chamberlen's original set of forceps was discovered over a century later hidden under the floorboards in the attic of his previous home, Woodham Mortimer Hall in Essex
Nouvelles Démonstrations D’Accouchemens (1822) by J.P. Maygrier
It was not until 1500 that the first documented cesarean section took place, though in legend the Greek god Apollo performed the first cesarean section when he delivered his son Asklepios, the eventual god of medicine. Images of this procedure appeared in many ancient cultures, including those of the Egyptians, Chinese, and Greeks. The term has been attributed to the birth of Julius Caesar though this origin is likely erroneous since Caesar’s mother, Aurelia, was apparently alive during her son’s invasion of Great Britain years later and at that time the cesarean section was reserved for the rescue of the child after the death of the mother.