Shocking Claim

Were Obstetrics Founders Murderers?

William Hunter and William Smellie, 18th-century London doctors, are revered founders of obstetrics, whose work permanently changed the care that women receive during childbirth. But were they also serial killers? That’s the claim in new research published by historian Don Shelton in a British medical journal. His study claims that the doctors enabled the murder of dozens of pregnant women to study their bodies. Their murder rate outpaced those of Jack the Ripper and other notorious killers from the period, Shelton writes. Shelton says that the docs arranged for a killing spree, using henchmen to deliver them the bodies of 35 to 40 pregnant women and their unborn children between 1749 and 1755.