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, 20 (5), 321-8

The Incubator and the Medical Discovery of the Premature Infant

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The Incubator and the Medical Discovery of the Premature Infant

J P Baker. J Perinatol.

Abstract

The invention of the incubator in 1880 ignited a dramatic outpouring of popular and professional excitement over the prospect of reducing premature infant mortality. Yet the technology itself progressed slowly and fitfully over the next 50 years. The story is worth examining not so much from the standpoint of technological progress, but from the perspective of how responsibility for the newborn shifted from mothers to obstetricians and eventually pediatricians. It also illustrates how the history of technology involves more than invention. The invention of the incubator itself was less significant than the development of a system to support the device.

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