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Arch Hellen Med, 32(4), July-August 2015, 511-514


The complicated labour and death of Empress Eudoxia at 6.10.404 a.D.

Ν. Stavrakakis
Laboratory of Pulmonary Function, Department of Pulmonology, "Venizelio-Pananio" General Hospital of Heraklion, Crete, Greece

The Byzantine Empress Eudoxia's seventh birthing was fatal due to the complications that occurred following intrauterine fetal death. The rapid deterioration of her clinical condition and the lack of immediate medical intervention led to her death. This article describes the course of her clinical condition as written by the chroniclers and historians of that period. The birth complications started after the fetus had died, with uterine bleeding, peritonitis, ileus, delirium and sepsis, and death followed. There are serious doubts about the medical care, which, according to the sources, was not instituted immediately to treat the complications. Possibly the rapid deterioration of her condition did not give much time to the doctors to treat and alleviate the pregnant Empress. The progress of her labour and the clinical course have been documented by several chroniclers, but only one of them gives a detailed account of her clinical condition. According to the sources examined, the doctors did have the knowledge to treat such difficult situations under the conditions of that period. Despite that knowledge, her doctors failed to give the Empress Eudoxia the assistance she needed, which resulted in her death.

Key words: Byzantine medicine, Empress Eudoxia, Labour.

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