Copy of obstetrical crotchet, owned by Chamberlen
An obstetrical crotchet is a destructive tool aiding the removal of a dead foetus from the mother. The foetus was removed from the womb in pieces to save the mother's life. This is a copy of the original instrument. The original was part of the collection of instruments used by the famous Chamberlen family of doctors from the late 1500s. Successive generations of male family members used obstetrical instruments, notably the forceps. They were the original ‘man-midwives’. They kept the designs of their instruments secret for well over a century. Several were discovered in 1813. They were hidden within Woodham Mortimer Hall, the family home in Essex. The originals are in the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists museum.