Before pediatrics became a medical specialty in the mid-19th century, the care and treatment of childhood diseases was included within such areas as general medicine, obstetrics and midwifery. In fact, the first pediatric thesis in this country was written by Charles Caldwell, whose research also included “pestilential” diseases, the circulatory system and phrenology. Caldwell received his medical degree from the University of Pennsylvania after presenting his thesis on this date in 1796. In his thesis, Caldwell linked three childhood diseases to the same type of fever.
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