Thursday, June 09, 2016

Illegal in Illinois, Safe and Legal in Georgie

Illegal in Illinois, 1917

The two illegal abortion deaths on this date in the Cemetery of Choice both took place on exactly the same day in Illinois. 

Matilda "Dollie" Tidrick, a 38-year-old homemaker and wife of a cook, was taken to a hospital in Danville, Illinois, in June of 1917. There, she was operated on by Dr. George Lotz. He called in other doctors "who assisted until they learned the nature of the case."

Dollie died on June 9, in spite of the surgery, along with her unborn child. The autopsy found that both had died from the results of an attempted abortion.

Lotz, who was held without bail, "admitted ... that he was guilty, and had been arrested for the same offense at Chicago and 'paid the price.'" This Chicago case was most likely the June 25, 1911 abortion death of 20-year-old Anna Mueller.

The same day as Dollie Tidrick's death, June 9, 1917, 26-year-old homemaker Emma Melvin died at Chicago's St. Mary's Hospital from infection caused by a criminal abortion. A person or persons unidentified in the source document indicates that the abortion was perpetrated by Dr. M. Meinhardt, who was never tried in Emma's death.

Safe and Legal in 1979

When we jump ahead to the era of safe, legal abortion, we find a case of striking ineptitude. On June 2 of 1979. National Abortion Federation member Atlanta Women's Pavillion rose to new levels of incompetence when staff there managed to fatally injure two teenage abortion patients in less than an hour.

It all began when 19-year-old Angela Scott stopped breathing in the recovery room due to what was reported as an "ideosyncratic reaction" to anesthesia. An uncertified nurse-anesthetist was administering anesthesia to 14-year-old Deloris Smith while Dr. Jacob Adams was performing her abortion. The nurse-anesthetist ran to assist in efforts to revive Angela, leaving Delores unattended with her anesthesia drip still running.

There was a 15 minute delay in getting an ambulance to the clinic because staff didn't tell the ambulance service that the call was for an emergency.

After the staff had resuscitated Angela and loaded her into an ambulance, they returned their attention to Deloris, who had gone into cardio-respiratory arrest. Adams had accompanied Angela to the Grady Memorial Hospital, and even though the ambulance could have transported both patients, staff refused to release Doloris until the physician had returned to discharge her. This resulted in a 30-minute delay, during which the ambulance crew was unable to attend to Delores or begin transporting her.

Angela lingered for a week in a coma before dying on June 9. Delores never regained consciousness and eventually was admitted to a nursing home, where she died of adult respiratory distress syndrome on October 24, 1979, some time after her fifteenth birthday.

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