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Clover's obstetric crutch, United Kingdom, c. 1860

Joseph Thomas Clover (1825-1882) was a surgeon and pioneering anaesthetist. He developed this obstetric crutch to keep the patient in the ‘lithotomy position’. This involved the patient lying on his or her back with the knees bent by attaching one padded leather strap to each thigh. It was most commonly used during childbirth or surgical procedures such as lithotomy. Lithotomy is the removal of the gallstone or kidney and bladder stone. Clover’s crutch was reputedly used between 1860 and 1869 at Liverpool Maternity Hospital.

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Glossary: lithotomy crutch

to hold the patient in the lithotomy position

Glossary: genito-urinary medicine

The branch of medicine dealing with the genital and urinary organs.

Glossary: obstetrics

A branch of medicine dealing with the care of women. This care occurs during pregnancy, childbirth, and the period of recovery from childbirth.