Rose Kulamer's husband, John, said that on Saturday, November 30, she'd told him that she'd been to see “a woman in the West End Pgh.” who had used “a rubber tube” to cause an abortion. She was taken to Columbia Hospital in Wilkensbert, Pennsylvania by ambulance on Monday, December 2.
Rose was taken to
the operating room, where the dead three- to four-month fetus was
removed and her cervix was packed with gauze. The next day surgery was
performed to remove the placenta.
Rose's condition fluctuated over the ensuing days.
morning, Rose seemed fine, but around midnight on Christmas night her doctor was called in because Rose's condition had taken a sudden
downturn. He arrived to find that she had vomited and been incontinent
in both her bowels and bladder. She was unconscious, with a weak,
irregular pulse. Chalfant diagnosed a pulmonary embolism and remained
with Rose for about an hour, during which she seemed to be improving.
But the next time Chalfant checked on her, she was showing signs of
brain damage from an embolism. She held on until about 1 p.m. December
Note, please, that with overall public health issues such as doctors not
using proper aseptic techniques, lack of access to blood transfusions
and antibiotics, and overall poor health to begin with, there was likely
little difference between the performance of a legal abortion and
illegal practice, and the aftercare for either type of abortion was
probably equally unlikely to do the woman much, if any, good. For more
information about early 20th Century abortion mortality, see Abortion Deaths 1910-1919.