American Journal of the Medical Sciences
Volume 19, page 400, 1850.
Dr. Summers, while practicing in Maryland, was called to see a married woman, in consultation at an advanced stage of her third labour. She had lost both of her previous children during parturition. The doctor, on examination, found the head ready for expulsion, but with a huge gash, or section, as if the skull had been cleft by some sharp instrument.
In time the child was delivered, dead, the mother having suffered greatly, in mind and body. The doctor then made another, and a thorough examination of the parts of the mother, and discovered clearly, what was before uncertain, that the coccyx presented its point, nail-like, firmly upwards and in wards into the cavity of the pelvis. He recommended to his patient either to visit a distinguished surgeon, to learn whether his art could relieve her, or to make up her mind to live absque marito [without her husband, that is, celibate].
The lady did not take his advice, but in due time she was taken again in labour, and sent for Dr. Summers in the first stage of it. The doctor, knowing the condition of things, set to work earnestly to draw the coccyx in a line with the sacrum by strong traction efforts, hoping to retain it sufficiently long to give the child a passage. He soon found that he was not likely to succeed, so that he determined, if possible, to break the connection between the two bones. By the application of both thumbs, with some effort, he succeeded perfectly; an audible snap soon gratified his ears, and in a very few minutes after, to the great joy of the parents, a living and healthy child was born. The lady declared that her sufferings were quite trivial, in comparison with her previous labours.
The doctor delivered her afterwards safely in two successive labours; but upon each occasion he found greater difficulty in breaking down the osseous union between the bones.
He learns that, in a subsequent labour, she lost the child as in those before she came into his hands.