Friday, April 01, 2016

Fatal Physicians and One Midwife

Today's anniversaries are all very typical of criminal abortions of their times and places.

1904: A Doctor's Work in a Sanitarium in Maine

On the morning of April 1, 1904, a body was hastily shipped from Old Orchard Sanitarium, aka Eastman's Women Sanitarium (pictured), and a death certificate was filed in the town clerk's office by Dr. Charles A Eastmanstating that the deceased was 24-year-old Edith McIntyre, a schoolteacher from Boothbay Harbor, Maine. She had died at the sanitarium at 3:00 that morning. The body, The cause of the death was given as gastritis resulting from the taking of oxalic acid salts by the deceased sometime in February. Edith had been at the sanitarium for two weeks. After Edith was buried, the suspicious circumstances led to an investigation. Edith's body was exhumed and an autopsy showed that she had died from an abortion. Eastman was traced to Lowell, MA, where he was arrested. In the mean time, police investigated his sanitarium.

Eastman fled, but was located and arraigned on a murder charge, to which he plead not guilty. The prosecution presented evidence that Eastman had performed an abortion on Edith some time in March, and that she developed septicemia and died as a result. On July 12, the jury returned a verdict of guilty of manslaughter.

1911: A Midwife's Work in Chicago
On April 1, 1911, 23-year-old Chicago homemaker Annie Murphy died from an abortion perpetrated by a midwife (or possibly obstetrician) named Carolina Adams. Adams, age about 63, was held by the Coroner's Jury but the case never went to trial.

1921: A Doctor's Work in New York City

On March 29, 1921, 57-year-old Dr. Simeon B. Minden performed an abortion in his New York City office on 32-year-old Mrs. Catherine Riga. Catherine died three days later at Lincoln Hospital. It took only two days for his trial, which ended in a conviction. Minden collapsed upon hearing the verdict. New York Times note card on indicates that Minden was granted a new trial on May 18, 1922, and was pardoned by the governor after serving one year and four months of a 2.5 to 10-year sentence in Sing-Sing on December 12, 1924.

1934-1935: A Doctor's Work in Oklahoma

Dr. Guy E. Brewer
Ruby Luella Ford, a homemaker about 27 years of age, died on April 1, 1934, 11 days after an abortion committed on March 20 "at the combination bachelor dwelling and office" of Dr. Guy E. Brewer, a beloved philanthropist in the small town of Graber, Oklahoma who had never been in any trouble with the law.  Brewer had graduated from the University of Louisville in 1906 and had been practicing medicine in Garber for 21 of the 29 years he had been a physician. He supported young men during their university studies, maintaining houses for them to live in. Those he had educated over the years rushed immediately to his defense. Ruby was one of a sudden string of abortion deaths attributed to Brewer. Hermoine Fowler, a 20-year-old coed, died in June of 1934, nine days after an abortion perpetrated by Brewer. Doris Jones, a 20-year-old mother of two, died April 11, 1935.Wanda Lee Gray, age 20, Myrtle Rose, age 21, and Elizabeth Shaw, 23, of Roxanna, andDoris Jones evidently died early in 1935. Brewer was sentenced to six four-year sentences, to run concurrently, for the six abortion deaths.

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