Monday, November 30, 2020

November 30: Husband Reports Fatal Abortion on Wife

At around 2:00 on the afternoon of November 30, 1874, Charles Dix went to the Madison Street Police Station to report that Dr. W. T. Aiken had performed a fatal abortion on his wife, Mary. Mary Dix had died the previous day, November 29, at around 12:30 a.m. Detective Flynn of Madison Street Station arrested Dr. W. F. Aikin, who had his office at 343 State Street. The warrant was sworn out for Aiken's arrest. 

Charles said that about a week earlier, Dr. Aiken had come to the house to treat one of their two children, who was sick. Charles had been napping on the sofa and overheard a conversation between Mary and Dr. Aiken that sounded as if Mary was arranging for Aikin to perform an abortion on her. When Aiken left, Charles spoke to Mary about what he'd overheard and she admitted that he was right but promised not to follow through.

Mary left the house on November 29 and was gone all afternoon and into the early evening. That night Mary was in such violent pain that Charles concluded that she'd gone through with the abortion after all. 

She was doing much worse the next day, which alarmed Charles so he summoned Aiken. A servant girl walked to the Dix house with Aiken and told Charles that Aiken had said that he hoped Mrs. Dix would keep her mouth shut if anything went wrong. Charles immediately told Aikin to leave and summoned Dr. Xelonski. He cared for Mary until Friday, when her condition became so critical that he called in Dr. Fleming and Dr. Edwards to help. The three doctors were unable to save her and she died at around 1:30 on the afternoon of December 2.

On questioning, Aiken said that he had been the Dix family physician for several months, having treated both Mr. Dix and his little daughter. On November 22 Mrs. Dix had visited his office for treatment. She came again on Tuesday the 24th, when he examined her and prescribed some medicine. She told him that Dr. White, a physician in Buffalo, had operated on her. Aiken said that he advised her not to walk home but she did so anyway. On Friday the 28th he went to the Dix home and their servant told him that he wasn't to come to the house any more. Mr. Dix, he said, acted strangely and reiterated that his services were no longer wanted. The conversation Mr. Dix had over heard was Mrs. Dix, Aiken said, telling him that she'd already attempted an abortion on herself and wanted to be examined to see if the attempt had been successful. He insisted that the servant girl was of low character and that nobody should trust anything she said. 

The next morning Dr. Fleming and the County Physician, Dr. Henrotin, performed an autopsy at the house. After hours of examining Mary's body and consulting with each other and Dr. Leonard they concluded that Mary's baby had been dead about three weeks before her death.

After an intensive investigation, however, a coroner's jury found no evidence that Mary had told anybody that she'd used any kind of instrument on herself. Witnesses included Julia Brown, Anna Merrit, and Dr. Van Buren. Dr. Wickersham testified about the cause of death as observed in the post-mortem examination. Their final conclusion was as followed:

An inquisition was taken for the People of the State of Illinois... on the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd days of December, A. D. 1874, before me, John Stephens, Coroner in and for said county, upon view of the body of Mary Dix, and we find that the deceased, now lying dead at 250 West Randolph street, came to her death, Nov. 30, 1874, from primary inflammation of the womb, followed by septicemia, said inflammation being the result of an effort of the deceased to produce an abortion on herself.

Aiken, age 33, was a graduate of Maryland University. He had been a doctor for fifteen years, serving as an Army surgeon during the Civil War, during which time he was wounded at Gettysburg. He came to Chicago to practice medicine after the war and lived with his wife and son in rooms adjoining his office. 

When a reporter went to the Dix house to speak with Charles, a man greeted him at the door to tell him that Mr. Dix was worn out and distraught and in no condition to speak with a reporter. The man relayed to the reporter that Mr. Dix had been alarmed when his wife had returned from Aiken's office on Tuesday and had called in Dr. Fleming, Dr. Xelowski, and Dr. E.W. Edwards on Friday. The family had moved to Chicago from Buffalo. The couple had a 4-year-old son and 6-year-old daughter, and had three more children who had died.

************

On October 27, 1926, 34-year-old Sophie Peterson underwent an illegal abortion in the Chicago office of Dr. Frederick Springe.  She was taken to Mercy Hospital, where she died on November 30.  Springe was indicted for felony murder by a grand jury on December 15.

On November 30, 1927, 22-year-old homemaker Lucille van Iderstine died in the Chicago office of Dr. Emil Gleitsman (pictured) from an abortion that had been performed on her that day. Gleitsman was indicted for felony murder in Lucille's death on January 15, 1928.  Lucille's abortion was typical of illegal abortions in that it was performed by a physician. Evidently Gleitsman beat the rap on Lucille's death because he was later implicated in the abortion deaths of Jeanette Reder in 1930, Mary Colbert in 1933, and Marie O'Malley and Maggie Doe in 1942.

**************

Newly added sources for Mary Dix:

Sunday, November 29, 2020

November 29: The Death of a Swimming Star

Virginia Hopkins Watson, an Illinois native, had been on a record-setting relay swimming team with Esther Williams in 1939, and had herself set the world's fifty-meter record in 1938. 

When she was admitted to California Hospital on November 26, 1954, doctors had reason to believe that something fishy was going on. They provided care until around 8:00 on the evening of November 29, when they transferred her to General Hospital because her kidneys had shut down, requiring an artificial kidney machine that California Hospital didn't have.

The kidney machine was unable to save Virginia's life. She died shortly before midnight. It wasn't until 4:15 the morning of November 30 that anybody reported the cause of her illness to the police for investigation. Virginia was the victim of a criminal abortionist.

Virginia had been 32 years old and pursuing a Hollywood career, hoping to follow the trail blazed by her former teammate. However, after being offered a small movie role, she became pregnant. Since she couldn't do the movie in a visible state of pregnancy, Virginia arranged to have an abortion on November 18. 

An investigation uncovered that she had arranged for a lay abortionist, Roger Fred Brenon, to come to her house and perform the abortion there. Brenon had only been paroled three days earlier after serving 11 months of a jail term for perpetrating abortions that hadn't proved fatal to the women.

Virginia's husband, Arthur, carefully avoided learning too much about what was going on even after observing Brenon in the kitchen evidently sterilizing some instruments  by boiling them on the stove. At Virginia's instruction, Arthur also wrote a check payable to cash for $150 and gave it to Brenon. (About $870 in 2020)

After the abortion, Virginia became sick with vomiting and bleeding before passing the dead fetus. 

By November 26, Virginia had difficulty in breathing and was taken to California Hospital. 

In telling the authorities about the events that led to his wife's death, he indicated that Brenon had visited Virginia two years earlier, spent time alone with her, and went off with a check Arthur had written. During  both visits, Arthur said, he'd been under the impression that Brenon was a physician named Rogers. 

Brenon was convicted of second-degree murder in Virginia's death.

Newly added source: "Delay in Report About Operation Stirs Inquiry," Los Angeles Times, December 3, 1954


November 29: Two Early Chicago Deaths

An Unknown Perp in Chicago, 1930

Seventeen-year-old Dorothy Jasinski was brought to St. Mary's Hospital in Chicago by two unidentified women on November 17, 1930. Dorothy was treated there until her death on November 29. The coroner determined that Dorothy had died from an abortion performed in Michigan City, Indiana, the day she'd been brought to the hospital. The coroner recommended identification of the person or persons responsible, and his or their arrest on charges of murder.

The Last Know Victim of Dr. Lucy Hagenow, 1926

Dr. Lucy Hagenow had only just been released from jail on October 27, 1926. Police had been unable to prove a charge that Hagenow had performed an abortion that Anna Jacques survived. 

"Every time I hear the name Lucy Hagenow I think of something unclean," said Judge Henry M. Walker. "I believe that you are guilty, but I am forced to discharge you for lack of evidence."

Hagenow went back to business, perpetrating an abortion on 25-year-old stenographer Mary Moorehead in her office. Mary died on November 29. The abortion had likely been performed on November 13.

Hagenow was arrested December 13. She was sentenced to 14 years at Joliet Penitentiary, but was able to get her conviction overturned by the Illinois Supreme Court, which ordered a new trial in 1929.
 
The judge, noting that there was no new evidence, dismissed the case, telling Hagenow, "You had better make your peace with God, Lucy Hagenow. I do not think your months on earth are many."  


Lucy Hagenow
Hagenow, who also went by the name of Louise or Louisa Hagenow, had a long and unsavory history of being involved in women's abortion deaths. The first were in San Francisco before Hagenow relocated to Chicago around 1890. The abortion deaths Hagenow was linked to include:
  • 1886: Louise Derchow
  • 1888: Annie Dories, Abbie Richards., and Emma Dep
  • 1892: Sophia Kuhn and Emily Anderson
  • 1896: Hannah Carlson
  • 1899: Marie Hecht
  • 1905: May Putnam
  • 1906: Lola Madison
  • 1907: Annie Horvatich
  • 1925: Lottie Lowy, Nina H. Pierce, Jean Cohen, Bridget Masterson, and Elizabeth Welter


Saturday, November 28, 2020

November 28: A Traveling Doctor Sells a Fatal Abortifacient

Mrs. George Libby, age 18, died November 28, 1888, in Wahpeton in the Dakota territories. Before her death she admitted that she had bought abortifacient drugs from "a traveling doctor who made a specialty of selling such drugs." I have been unable to determine Mrs. Libby's given name.

Thursday, November 26, 2020

November 26: Malachy DeHenre, Lady Killer

Malachy DeHenre
Leigh Ann Alford, age 34, underwent a safe and legal abortion at the hands of Dr. Malachy Malvin DeHenre at Summit Medical Center of Alabama, a National Abortion Federation member clinic, on November 25, 2003. She was about 17 weeks into her pregnancy.

Leigh Ann was discharged from the clinic 20 minutes after her abortion, according to a lawsuit filed by her husband. Within six hours, he said, he called the facility to report that Leigh Ann was suffering pain and fever, and was told that his wife did not need to be seen. He later found her lying unresponsive on the floor and called 911.

An ambulance transported Leigh Ann to the emergency room at Medical Center East in Birmingham, Alabama. She died about 18 hours after the clinic had sent her home. 

Death was attributed to hemorrhagic shock from an unrecognized uterine perforation. 

Several other patients suffered similar catastrophic injuries but were admitted to hospitals where other doctors were able to save their lives.

DeHenre was later convicted of manslaughter after shooting his wife in the head. He served half his sentence then was deported to his native Nigeria. Not only was he a murderer and a quack -- he was an illegal alien.





November 26: Safe and Legal in 1971

"Monica" was a 31-year-old mother of five. She requested an abortion when she was 8 weeks pregnant, but the abortion was delayed about a month in order to address "some health, personal and administrative problems." The abortion was scheduled for November 20, 1971.

Her doctor decided that it was best to simply remove Monica's uterus with the fetus still in it. The hysterectomy was done under general anesthesia with no apparent complications.

On the second day after surgery, Monica developed fever and nausea, and had no bowel sounds. The next day she felt unwell and had a distended abdomen. The next day, she felt better and resumed eating, but still had not had a bowel movement.

Six days after the surgery, November 26, Monica began to scream and vomit. She reported severe abdominal pain and couldn't see. Within an hour of the onset of these symptoms, Monica died.

The autopsy revealed grim findings. Monica had a severe infection that had interfered with her bowel function. As she continued to eat but not to have bowel movements, her bowels backed up, allowing gastric juices to enter her lungs and begin to digest them. She also had bacteria in her brain, which may have caused her blindness in the final hour of her life.

November 26: A Doctor Indicted

I have very little information on today's illegal abortion anniversary. On November 26, 1923, 23-year-old Alice Johnson died at Chicago's West End Hospital from a criminal abortion performed that day. The coroner identified Dr. Lorenz Lapsky as being responsible for Alice's death.  Lapsky was indicted by a grand jury for felony murder on December 15.

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

An Honest Biden or Another Hidin' Biden?

Since corruption among state officials is a hot topic right now, I thought I'd do a video for The Sisyphean Journal about the corruption that was rife in the Pennsylvania cover-up and enabling of Kermit Gosnell's deplorable abortion clinic in Philadelphia. Let me share some of the first of my blog posts that I found:

Attorney General to Probe Second Gosnell Abortion Center The National Abortion Federation facility that employed Kermit Gosnell, and let him start at least six of his illegal late abortions there, isn't getting glossed over. It's getting investigated:
Late Thursday, Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden said his office will launch a “wide-ranging” investigation of Gosnell and probe his work at the Delaware abortion facility given the vast problems at his Pennsylvania abortion center. “Like most of us, I’m disturbed by the allegations that were handed up by the grand jury in Philadelphia,” said Biden, according to the News Journal newspaper. He said the probe will focus on “a range of issues and we want to get to the bottom of it.”
“It is under way and has been under way,” Biden said of the probe, and he indicated staff from his office and Delaware investigators have already met with officials from Pennsylvania to determine if any criminal acts of violations of state health and safety standards occurred in Delaware or by those associated with Gosnell in the state. The announcement of the probe come on the same day members of Delaware Right to Life and national pro-life groups called for investigations into whether Atlantic and the two other abortion clinics that operate in Delaware are following state laws.

Wait! Biden? Beau Biden? Joe Biden's other son? Hunter Biden's brother? Was this an honest Biden who was really trying to get to the bottom of what that National Abortion Federation clinic was up to? Or was this another example of "If the name is Biden, there's something he's hidin'"?

I did a little searching for preliminaries and found this:

  • "Gosnell Abortion Ctr May Have Faked Delaware Abortion Report," LifeNews.com: This article looks at whether the Delaware clinic where Gosnell worked one day a week was falsifying its reports on the number of abortions it was doing. Bogus and questionable numbers? The Biden name? Do tell!
  • "Abortion foes want probe of clinic in Del. where Gosnell worked,"  The Philadelphia Inquirer: The Delaware Family Policy Council asked Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden to investigate the goings-on at the Delaware clinic where Kermit Gosnell initiated at least six illegal third-trimester abortions, including the one that culminated in the murder of Baby Boy A.
  • "Gosnell-Associated Abortion Practitioners in Delaware Suspended," LifeNews.com: Beau Biden had asked the medical board to yank the licenses doctors associated with the National Abortion Federation clinic where Gosnell worked one day a week for their failure to report Gosnell's nefarious goings-on to the state. They did suspend the license of Dr. Albert Dworkin. However, the only action they took against Dr. Arturo Apolinario was to revoke his permission to prescribe controlled substances.
I've put in a call to the Delaware Family Policy Council to find out if Beau Biden was conducting an honest and transparent investigation or if he was just going through the motions in the hopes that eventually the story would go away.

Per my promise in the video about this story, here's a link to the very disturbing and graphic photo of Baby Boy A.



















November 22: A Funeral Interrupted

Summary: Newlywed Ida Coakley's funeral was interrupted for an investigation: Was she an abortionist's victim?

On November 23, 1897, a funeral procession in Irvington, California, was stopped just as about the body was being loaded onto a ferry. The deceased was 24-year-old Ida Coakley, a homemaker who had only been married to John Coakley, a farmer, for two months. John reported that he'd taken her to the office of Dr. Samuel Hall the previous day to be treated for a heart problem. He had left the doctor's office and returned that evening only to find his wife dead. Her body was whisked away to a funeral establishment at 10:00 at night

A night watchman at a nearby bank had found the clandestine removal of a body from Dr. Hall's premises fishy. He spoke to the driver while the undertaker and his assistant went inside. The driver told the night watchman that a woman from Irvington had just died there. The watchman contacted the police. Deputy Coroner McCormack, who should have been notified about any death, went to Hall's house and was told that there had been no death there.

McCormack went to the Health Office and found a certificate signed by Dr. McMurdo, stating that Mrs. Coakley had died from a cardiac aneurism. Clearly, then, there had been a death and there was something fishy about it.  McCormack contacted the undertaker, who told him that the body was on the way to the ferry. Thus the interruption of the funeral. Ida's body was taken for an autopsy, and a coroner's jury convened. 

Dr. Mc Murdo testified before the coroner's jury that the undertaker had asked him to sign the death certificate because of Hall's "peculiar" reputation.

John Coakley admitted that he had taken Ida to Hall the previous week and asked if an abortion would be safe for her. When Hall had assured him that it would be safe, John paid $50 and Hall promptly took Ida into a procedure room. A few minutes later, Hall returned, told John that Ida had been fine, and sent her home.

Dr. Hall's daughter, Josephine Wells, testified that Ida had come to the McAllister Street house at about noon on the Saturday before her death. Hall had asked to use Josephine's room for a couple of days to care for Ida, whom Hall told Josephine suffered heart disease. Ida was sitting in a chair by the fire the following Monday when she died at about 6 o'clock in the evening. 

They concluded:

That Mrs. Ida Coakley, aged 24 years, nativity California, occupation housewife, residence Irvington, Alameda county, came to her death November 22, 1897, at 14 McAllister street, from septicaemia, following an attempt at abortion; and we further find that deceased came to her death from the effects of a criminal operation performed by Dr. Samuel H. Hall, and we further find that John Coakley was an accessory to the same crime.

Hall was arrested when he arrived in San Jose to visit his wife and daughter. He said that he'd not known that Ida had been pregnant when she and her husband had come to his office on Saturday. He'd treated her with morphine and nitroglycerin. On Monday see seemed okay, he said, but he left her for a while only to return to his office and find her dead. He said that he assumed that she must have died from an aneurysm.

The charges against John Coakley were dropped during the first trial in order to loosen his tongue against Hall. John Coakley proved useless during the trial, however. He broke down on the stand but the prosecution was unable to get him to say anything significant. The trial resulted in a hung jury, voting seven to five for acquittal. A second trial against Hall ended in acquittal after Coakley fled the state, leaving the prosecution minus the prime witness.

Hall had been twice tried for the 1891 abortion death of Ida Shaddock. The first trial ended in a hung jury and the second, three years later and after several key witnesses had moved away or died, resulted in acquittal.

Newly added sources:
  • "Held Responsible for Causing Death," San Francisco Examiner, November 30, 1897

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

November 24: Tragic Thanksgiving

The Dreadful Thanksgiving Surprise, 1986

Eighteen year old Michelle Madden, a freshman at Mobile College, sought a safe and legal abortion from O.B. Evans at Family Planning Medical Center of Mobile, Alabama. It was performed on November 18, 1986. According to the friend who had accompanied Michelle to the abortion facility, Michelle had chosen abortion because a doctor had told her that her baby would have birth defects due to Michelle's epilepsy medication.

That very day, Michelle's parents were preparing to go to Mississippi to spend Thanksgiving with Mrs. Madden's brother. They got a call from Michelle's roommate telling them that their daughter was sick.

"We didn't think anything of it. We told her we were going to come the next day to pick her up," Michelle's mother told the Mobile Press Register. But before they could leave home the next day, the house mother at the dorm called, asking if Michelle had gynecological problems. Again, the parents weren't particularly concerned. At that point, they weren't even aware that their daughter had been pregnant.

When they arrived at the dorm, they were told that Michelle was in the hospital. "We called the hospital and they said she was in surgery." They were at the hospital for an hour until the doctor finally came to them and told them that Michelle had undergone an abortion. When they were operating on Michelle, doctors told her parents, they found a leg bone, two pieces of skull, and some placenta still in Michelle's uterus.

"From what he told me at that point," said Mrs. Madden, a nurse, "I knew that for her to live would be a miracle, on the order of the Lord raising Lazarus from the dead. She was in such bad shape I didn't see how she could make it."

Michelle's mother was sadly right. Sepsis had already set in, and Michelle remained on life support dying on November 24. Her parents sued Evans and the facility, and in 1991 a jury awarded them $10 million in damages. 

Watch the YouTube video.

Two Early 20th Century Chicago Deaths

On November 24, 1916, 24-year-old Mrs. M. Marazak died at Chicago's West Side Hospital from an abortion performed by an unknown perpetrator.

On November 24, 1907, homemaker Lizzie Paulson, age 38, died at County Hospital in Chicago from an abortion performed that day. John and Minnie Nelson were arrested and held without bail. John Nelson was sentenced to Joliet for his role in Lizzie's death. John Nelson's profession is given as "outside labor force" and "abortion provider", so likely he was a professional lay abortionist.



Sunday, November 22, 2020

November 22: An Unknown Perp and an Indicted Doctor

 Two Chicago Deaths, 1917 and 1913


On November 22, 1917, 20-year-old Helen Devora died at Chicago's West End Hospital from an abortion performed by an unknown perpetrator.

Four years to the day earlier, 33-year-old Hulda Tubbin died in Chicago, at the scene of an abortion perpetrated that day by Dr. Olaf Olson. Though Olson was indicted for felony murder, the case never went to trial.

November 22: The Persistence of Self-Induced Abortions

 Self-Induced in Colorado, 1978


On November 15, 1978, 18-year-old "Sharon" was admitted to the Denver General Hospital emergency room. She was suffering from nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain. Her mood was alternating between agitation and lethargy. She reported having believed that she was pregnant -- though she had menstruated only three weeks previously -- and drinking two half-ounce bottle of pennyroyal oil. Since she had also been seriously depressed, doctors were unsure whether to consider her ingestion of pennyroyal as an abortion attempt or as a suicide attempt. 

Sharon had used pennyroyal tea in the past to start her periods when she'd thought that she was pregnant. She'd become ill within a few hours of drinking the oil.

A medical botanist, Dr. Walter Lewis, wrote about the case:

Within two hours she vomited blood and bled from the vagina and eyes. By the third day her liver was damaged. On the sixth day, she sank into a coma and died on the seventh day.
This would indicate that Sharon died on November 22.

Upon autopsy it became clear that Sharon had not even been pregnant. The pennyroyal oil had done such serious damage to her liver that portions of it had died. During her hospitalization she, like Kris Humphry, had developed disseminated intravascular coagulopathy (DIC, a disorder in which the blood can no longer clot). It was eventually the hemorrhagic damage to her liver that caused her death.

The Centers for Disease Control investigated Sharon's death, along with other deaths from illegal abortion. They concluded that she, like the others whose deaths they studied, had sought an abortion outside the medical establishment for "idiosyncratic reasons." 

Friday, November 20, 2020

November 20: The Refugee that Gosnell Killed

 Just When Life Seemed Safe 

Headshot of a middle-aged Bhutanese woman with her hair pulled back and a faint smile on her face
Karnamaya Mongar
At the age of 41, Karnamaya Mongar had survived nearly 20 years in a refugee camp in Nepal. What she was unable to survive was a visit to an American abortion clinic.

Karnamaya, her husband, Ash, their three children and one grandchild arrived in the United States on July 19, 2009 as part of a resettlement program. 
Karnamaya was more than 18 weeks pregnant when went to a clinic in Virginia for an abortion. But the Virginia clinic, and another in Washington, D.C., did not do abortions that late in the pregnancy. One of the clinics referred Karnamaya to Kermit Gosnell's Women’s Medical Society in Philadelphia because Gosnell had a reputation for performing abortions regardless of gestational age.

Karnamaya went with her daughter to the Gosnell's clinic on November 18, 2009. That afternoon,
Latosha Lewis, who had completed a medical assistant course but had never been certified, conducted the clinic’s version of a “pre-examination,” which was so scanty it didn't even involve weighing the patient. Falsified informed consent forms were added to Karnamaya's file.  

After the "pre-examination" was done and the paperwork was completed, Randy Hutchins, a part-time physician’s assistant who worked without State Board of Medicine approval, inserted laminaria to dilate Karnamaya’s cervix and administered Cytotec to soften it. Hen then told Karnamaya to return the next day to complete the abortion.

Drugged Up

Kermit Gosnell's Philadelphia
"house of horrors" where
Karnamaya Mongar was drugged to
death by unqualified staff.
Karnamaya arrived at the clinic on November 19 around 2:30 p.m., accompanied by her daughter and her daughter's mother-in-law. At the front desk, Tina Baldwin gave Karnamaya her initial medication – Cytotec to soften the cervix and to cause contractions; and Restoril, a drug that causes drowsiness.  After giving Karnamaya the medicine, Baldwin told her to wait in the recovery area until the doctor arrived to perform the abortion.

Lynda Williams and Sherry West, who were without any medical-related qualifications medicated Karnamaya in the “recovery room” while she waited for Gosnell.

Karnamaya's daughter, Yashoda Gurung, told the Grand Jury that she waited with her mother in the recovery room for several hours. During that time, between 3:30 and 8:00 p.m., her mother was given five or six doses of oral medicine and repeated injections into an IV line in her hand.  As usual at Gosnell's clinic, no equipment was available to ensure proper monitoring of vital signs.


A handwritten, hand-colored chart of names for anesthesia concoctions and the amount of each drug to go in each
Anesthesia chart drawn up by 15-year-old
Gosnell employee Ashley Baldwin
Yashoda did not know what drugs her mother was given, but typically employees gave repeated injections of the concoction of sedative drugs that Gosnell referred to as a “twilight” dose. Each of these “twilight” doses, repeated a number of times at the discretion of the unlicensed workers, consisted of 75 milligrams of Demerol, 12.5 milligrams of promethazine, and 7.5 milligrams of diazepam.

The standard practice was for Gosnell's untrained staff to give repeated doses of sedative and pain-killing drugs to the patients, without regard to a woman's size or weight, whenever it was deemed necessary by the untrained staff. For example, if the woman started moaning, she was presumed to be in pain, and would be given another dose of drugs. Karnamaya, at only 4'11" in height and 110 lb. in weight, would have been endangered by a dose appropriate for an average-sized women, much less by the massive doses administered at Women's Medical Society.

A little before 8:00 p.m., West and Williams sent Karnamaya's daughter to another waiting area. She was left there, with no idea what was happening to her mother until the ambulance arrived after 11 p.m.

Williams helped Karnamaye into the procedure room, put her on the table, and drugged her again, this time with the clinic's "custom" dose of 75 mg. of Demerol, 12.5 mg. of promethazine, and 10 mg. of diazepam. The heavily drugged patient was then left, unattended and with no monitoring equipment, alone in the procedure room.

Cardiac Arrest

Kermit Gosnell mugshot
Kermit Gosnell mugshot
Sherry West told detectives that, some time after sedating Karnamaya, Williams came out of the procedure room, yelling for help. West said that when she later entered the procedure room, Gosnell was there trying to perform CPR on Karnamaya. Lynda Williams summoned Eileen O’Neill , an unlicensed medical school graduate who worked at the clinic, from her second-floor office.

O'Neill told the Grand Jury that she thought Karnamaya was already dead by the time she got to the procedure room, but she took over administering CPR because Gosnell wasn't doing it correctly. Gosnell, meanwhile, left to retrieve the clinic’s only “crash cart” (the emergency kit to treat a cardiac arrest) from the third floor. After returning with the kit, however, Gosnell did not use any of the drugs in it to try to save Karnamaya's life. Instead he just looked through them and seemed pleased that they were up to date. He seemed purely interested in keeping outsiders from finding out that the crash cart had been nowhere near the procedure room while patients were being sedated.

O’Neill testified that Gosnell told her not to administer Narcan, a drug that could have reversed the effects of the Demerol. She said that Gosnell told her it would not work on Demerol. O’Neill also said that she tried to use the defibrillator to revive Karnamaya, but that the paddles did not work.

Emergency Services

One of Gosnell's filthy
procedure rooms
It was after 11 p.m. – long after O’Neill had decided that Karnamaya was dead and returned to her office – that Lynda Williams finally asked Ashley Baldwin to call 911. Ashley then went into the procedure room and found Gosnell alone with his dead patient. He told Ashley to turn in the pulse oximeter, which they should have been using all along to monitor Karnamaya's pulse and blood oxygen. This surprised Ashley, since Gosnell knew that the pulse oximeter had been broken for months.

Emergency personnel arrived at 11:13. They found Karnamaya lifeless in the procedure room and Gosnell just standing there, not doing anything. The paramedics immediately intubated Karnamaya to give her oxygen, and started an intravenous line to administer emergency medications, since for some reason clinic staff had removed the IV line they'd been using all day to drug their patient. They also failed to tell the paramedics about the drugs they had administered.

Color photograph showing a railed entrance to a door blocked by a heavy security gate with a large lock. Three security barred windows are to the right of the door.
The locked back door to Women's Medical Society
The medics were able to restore weak heart activity. But getting Karnamaya to the ambulance was
 needlessly and dangerously time-consuming because the emergency exit was locked. Gosnell sent Ashley to the front desk to look for the key, but she could not find it. Ashley told the grand jury that a firefighter needed to cut the lock, but “It took him [20 minutes]… because the locks is old.” Karnamaya's daughter and friend ran outside, crying, and witnessed this. After cutting the locks, responders had to waste even more time struggling to maneuver through the cramped hallways that could not accommodate a stretcher.

When the ambulance arrived at the hospital shortly after midnight, Karnamaya had no heartbeat, no blood pressure, and was not breathing. After  aggressive resuscitation efforts, doctors were able to restore a weak heartbeat. Karnamaya was then sent to the Intensive Care Unit, where she remained on life support until family members could make the trip from Virginia to say good-bye. She was pronounced dead at 6:15 p.m. on November 20. She had died of a massive overdose of Demerol.

Watch the video on YouTube.


Thursday, November 19, 2020

November 19: Teen Suicide After Secret Abortion

In October of 1984, 14-year-old Sandra Kaiser went to a Planned Parenthood with her 21-year-old half-sister, Karen Flynn. The test was positive, and Sandra told Karen she wanted an abortion. Karen made an appointment and took Sandra to Reproductive Health Services (RHS) for a safe and legal abortion.

Karen later said that during the counseling session, Sandra did not seem ambivalent, and said that she thought she was too young to have a child. Sandra also lied, saying that her mother knew of the abortion plan, approved of it, and had provided the money to pay for it. Three days later, Karen brought Sandra back to RHS for the abortion.

It is important to note that Sandra had already led a very troubled life. At age 7 she witnessed the stabbing death of one of her half-brothers. At age 11 she was diagnosed with a conduct disorder. By age 12 her problems included drinking alcohol, running away from home, temper outbursts, skipping school, crying, and nightmares about her brother's death. She was hospitalized at least twice and had received outpatient therapy and medication. She was, in short, a high-risk abortion patient, likely to suffer severe psychological after-effects.

Sandra signed the consent form, and Karen signed in the space for parent/guardian even though she was not Sandra's guardian. The two sisters also filled out the other paperwork for the abortion. They checked "No" in answer to the question, "Have you ever been hospitalized other than for childbirth." Karen later said that they checked "No" despite Sandra's psychiatric hospitalization because she believed the question only pertained to hospitalization for physical ailments.

Sandra was then shown a film called First Trimester Informed Consent. The film said, "A few women have negative emotional feelings after an abortion. You may feel slightly depressed, but those feelings are normal. .. [S]evere depression is not to be expected. If you are severely depressed after this abortion, it may be that your feelings about ending a pregnancy have not yet been completely resolved."

After the abortion, Sandra holed up in her room a lot, crying. On November 19, Sandra's mother overheard her talking to her boyfriend on the phone. The boyfriend had supposedly gotten another girl pregnant. Sandra said that she was going to go jump off a bridge. Half an hour later, Sandra went to a bridge over Aresnal Street. There, a bystander saw her holding on to the fence, finally letting go and leaping off into the path of a car on the street below.

The driver of the car that hit her stopped and stood by Sandra, waving his arms to alert oncoming traffic to her presence in the road. The driver behind him stopped his car as well, and began flashing his headlights and sounding his horn to alert traffic. A woman driving an oncoming car saw the man waving his arms, and the car with lights flashing, and became confused and alarmed. She drove past them, running over Sandra.

Upon arriving at her destination, this driver told a friend of the strange event. The friend suggested that they return to the scene to find out what had happened. By the time they arrived, the police had arrived, Sandra was being loaded into an ambulance, and somebody had found Sandra's mother and brought her to the scene. The woman driver told the police what had happened, and no charges were brought against her.

Sandra died four hours later of multiple internal injuries.

Sandra's mother sued RHS for her daughter's death, charging that they had failed to contact the her mother in compliance with the law. An expert noted that at the time of Sandra's death, she had been depressed for several weeks, that the suicide was a direct consequence of this depression, and that the abortion was the "straw that broke the camel's back." The judge ruled that Sandra's mother and her witnesses failed to prove that the clinic had been negligent in exploring Sandra's history, and that Sandra had not been proved to have killed herself due to an uncontrollable impulse. To add insult to injury, the suicide had occurred during the time that the Missouri law governing consent of minors to abortion was enjoined by the Federal courts, so the law to protect Sandra and girls like her did not apply.

News clipping downloaded December 25, 2019:


Wednesday, November 18, 2020

November 18: Death Breaks Up an Abortion Ring

Summary: On November 18, 1942, 26-year-old Madylon "Betty" McGeehan, an OPA stenographer who had been living in Washington DC., died at Prospect Hospital in New York of peritonitis after an illegal abortion. Dr. Joseph Nisonoff was ultimately convicted of manslaughter in her death and sentenced to 5 to 15 years in prison.

Betty McGeehan

Madylon "Betty" McGeehan was a Pennsylvania girl, born to Robert and Rita McGeehan in 1916 in the city of Hazleton, not far from Allentown. She and her younger siblings, Robert and Mary, were raised by their mother.

Betty was active on the high school yearbook staff and in the oratory club. She graduated from Hazleton High School in 1934.

In 1940 she was lodging with the Falwells family and working as a senior clerk typist at the DPA office in Hazleton. 

She left Hazleton in May of 1942 to take a job as a stenographer with the War Production Board in Washington, DC. She lived there with her sister, Mary. Her brother, Robert, was a Lieutenant in the Army stationed in Columbia, South Carolina. Her mother remained behind in their Maple Avenue home in Hazleton.

Harry Takes Charge

Henry Elters was a 28-year-old unemployed accountant from Hazelton. He and Betty, then age 26, had known each other for about seven years and had come to be known as sweethearts in their community. Though they'd sometimes checked into hotels together as husband and wife, he denied being responsible for Betty's pregnancy.

Elters testified that he had contacted Dr. Max J. Weinstein, age 37, on or about October 15. The young couple had known Weinstein socially for about four years through mutual friends. Elters told Weinstein that Betty was pregnant and they wanted to know "what might be done about it." Betty made the trip about a week later to keep the appointment. Weinstein confirmed that Betty was pregnant. Elters and Weinstein consulted by phone over the ensuing days about an abortion. Weinstein told Elters that  an abortion could be arranged and would cost about $150.

On October 23, Betty went to Dr. Kushner in Washington, DC. Kushner, a reputable OB/GYN and clinical professor at Georgetown University. She gave her name as Mrs. Betty Elters and said that she'd come for prenatal care. Kushner found her to be about two and a half to three months pregnant and in good health. She paid him $20, which was  part of his fee for full obstetrical care.

Meanwhile Harry continued to make other appointments. That very day, Weinstein referred Elters and Betty to Dr. Lassman in Manhattan. The couple visited Lassman the next day but he refused to perform an abortion. Elters telephoned Weinstein to let him know. It was then that Weinstein referred the pair to 58-year-old Dr. Joseph Nisonoff. He provided Elters with the address of Nisonoff's 71st Street office, so they pair went there. The nurse told them that since Betty didn't have an appointment, Nisonoff couldn't see her. Elters went back to Hazleton and Betty returned home to DC.

Harry's Persistence, Betty's Reluctance

Elters didn't take any more action until November 7, when he called Weinstein to say that Betty "still wanted the abortion to be done" and asked Weinstein to see what he could do. He called again the next day and Weinstein gave him the address of Nisonoff's office in Queens and said that the abortion would cost $600.

Evidently Weinstein had told Elters that he'd make the arrangements, because it was he who called the Queens office and made the arrangements. He called at about 10:00 on the morning of November 10 and spoke to Nisonoff's nurse, Camille Ewald. Though not a registered nurse, Ewald had worked at the offices of Dr. Henschel and Dr. Lassman -- likely the same Dr. Lassman Betty and Elters had originally visited -- before going to work for Nisonoff. Weinstein said that he wanted to arrange an abortion and that the patient could pay $600. He also told Ewald that since Betty had been treated rudely by the nurse at the 71st Street office, he preferred that she be seen in Queens. Ewald told Weinstein that she'd have to consult with Nisonoff and to call back at noon. Weinstein did, and Ewald told him that Betty could be seen that afternoon. 

Betty and Elters went to Nisonoff's office as planned. He confirmed a healthy 10 or 11 week pregnancy. At that time, Betty balked at an abortion so Nisonoff referred her back to Weinstein. Weinstein called Nisonoff's office to commiserate, saying, "It is a shame to lose the patient. It was a nice fee."

Elters and Weinstein also spoke by phone, lamenting the fact that Betty hadn't gone through with the abortion. When the two spoke again on November 11, Weinstein said that he'd made another appointment for Betty to have the abortion at 2:00 on the afternoon of November 13. He told Elters to bring Betty to his office first. 

The next day, November 12, Elters drove to DC in the afternoon and met Betty. He dropped her off at the railroad station at about 9:00 that evening, telling her that he'd meet her in New York the following day. He returned to Hazleton. 

The Abortion

On November 13, Elters drove from Hazleton to New York, picked Betty up at Pennsylvania Station, and drove her to Weinstein's office in the Bronx. He later testified that Betty told him that she'd had some bleeding and nausea and that she'd seen a doctor in Washington -- presumably about an abortion. It's entirely possible that even at this point in time, Betty still wanted to have her baby and was hoping she could convince Elters that she'd already gone through with one so that she could back out.

The trio drove from Weinstein's office to Nisonoff's office, arriving there at around 3:00 p.m. Weinstein told Ewald that Elters had the fee. Elters counted out the $600 to the nurse, and she handed it off to Nisonoff. She then told both men to return in about an hour and a half. Weinstein retreated to the waiting room, while Elters went out for a walk.

Camille Ewald helped Betty onto the procedure table, clipped her pubic hair, and administered a vaginal douche. Ewald said that the douche water came out clear, with no sign of blood.

Nisonoff came in and administered gas to put Betty to sleep. He inserted a speculum, which Ewald held down with her right hand. Nisonoff dilated Betty's cervix with instruments. He used an instrument to draw the uterus towards him, then used curettes and forceps for fifteen or twenty minutes as Ewald observed. She testified that he pulled out "meat and little bones and things like that, like bones from the hand and bones from the feet." 

During the abortion Weinstein poked his head in to check on the progress of the procedure. Nisonoff assured him that all was well. Then suddenly Nisonoff broke out in a sweat and blood spurted from Betty's vagina onto his eyeglasses. He asked Ewald to clean them and wipe his face, which she did. He seemed nervous, with his hand trembling. He quickly asked for iodoform packing so that he could pack Betty's uterus and vagina. Ewald brought the packing, Nisonoff packed the patient, and then Ewald helped Betty to get down off the table and walk to a couch to rest. 

The Aftercare Plan

Betty complained of abdominal cramping. Nisonoff asked Ewald to take Betty with her to the home she shared with her two sisters on 42nd Street in Long Island. Ewald protested that there was no room for Betty in the three-room apartment, but Nisonoff persisted. Ewald eventually agreed.

Elters returned to the office about 45 minutes after he'd left. He encountered Weinstein in the waiting room and asked how things had gone. Weinstein assured him that all had gone well. Elters went into the office and saw Betty lying on a couch, attended by Ewald. Weinstein told Elters that Betty was going to be taken someplace for aftercare. Elters stayed with Betty for about fifteen minutes then met Weinstein outside and drove him back to his office.

At around 5:00, Camille Ewald took Betty to her home in a taxi.

At around 7:30, Betty said that she was in pain. Ewald called around to find Nisonoff, finally getting in touch with him at around 8:00. She told him about Betty's pain and cramps. He told her to remove the packing, which she did.

Nisonoff called Ewald between 11:00 and midnight to ask how Betty was doing. Ewald said that she was still in pain, but her temperature and pulse were normal.

Saturday

On the morning of Saturday, November 14, Ewald went to Nisonoff's office in Queens to report that Betty was still unwell and had spent a very restless night. She asked him to come and check on the young woman. They went to Ewald's apartment together. Betty was unable to pass urine so Nisonoff inserted a catheter. Ewald said that the urine contained blood and little clots.

The doctor and nurse went back to the office. Nisonoff called Dr. Spielman, saying that he'd operated on Betty, describing her condition, and asking why she was bleeding so much. He wondered if he had perforated her bladder. Nisonoff conveyed to Ewald that Spielman didn't think Betty's bladder was perforated because such an injury would have left her unable to get off the table. He asked Spielman to examine Betty, but he refused.

At around 2:00 that afternoon, Nisonoff went to Ewald's apartment to check on Betty. He noted that her temperature and pulse seemed normal and wrote out a prescription for some medications, including morphine. Though he knew his patient as either Madylon McGeehan or Betty McGee, he wrote the prescription for "Ca. Ewald." He put Betty's correct age of 26, not Camille Ewald's age of 36, as the age of the patient.

Later that night Nisonoff called Ewald to check on Betty. Ewald told him that there had been no improvement in the young woman's condition.

Hospitalized

On Sunday morning, November 15, Nisonoff called Ewald again for an update. She said that Betty's condition was deteriorating and asked him to come check on her. When he arrived he found that she had a fever and a rapid pulse. He told Ewald that they'd have to transport Betty to Prospect Hospital by ambulance. He called the hospital's owner to arrange for her to be admitted under the name "Betty McGee" and to receive blood transfusions.

Ewald called an ambulance that afternoon. Nisonoff agreed to reimburse her the $14 ambulance fee. Betty was removed from Ewald's apartment on a stretcher by John Myers, the owner and driver of Forest Hills Ambulance Service, and his assistant. Camille Ewald rode in the back of the ambulance with Betty. She was admitted at 3:10 p.m.

Nisonoff wrote the following admission note:

November 15, name Betty, 26 years old, married, family and personal history negative -- except for a sacroiliac -- last menstruation two months ago. Present complaint, bleeding from the vagina and pain. Examination of the abdomen tender and rigid. Temperature 100.2, pulse 116. Respiration 20. Examination: external os open and bleeding. Uterus size 10 weeks, diagnosis incomplete abortion, probably peritonitis. Patient denies criminal interference.

A diagnosis of an "incomplete abortion" could apply equally to a miscarriage or an induced abortion. He arranged for Betty to have a day nurse and a night nurse to look after her. Camille Ewald remained with Betty until she'd received a transfusion.

Somebody contacted Elters and let him know that Betty had been hospitalized.

Consultation

On Monday, November 16, Betty received two more blood transfusions. Nisonoff phoned Dr. Alfred M. Hellman, a highly reputable ob/gyn Nisonoff had known for about twenty years. Nisonoff asked him to assist in Betty's care. He then called Weinstein and asked him to meet him outside the hospital at 3:00 because Hellman was going to examine Betty. 

Nisonoff and Camille Ewald picked Dr. Hellman up at his office at around 3:00 p.m. and drove to the hospital, where they found Weinstein waiting outside. Ewald and Weinstein remained in a waiting area for about twenty minutes while Hellman and Nisonoff went to see Betty.

During his trial Nisonoff testified that he'd told Hellman that Betty had come to his office on November 13 already in the process of expelling a fetus, which was partially protruding from her vagina. He asserted that he'd told Hellman that he had removed the remains of the fetus, and explored Betty's uterus to ensure that there were no retained tissues. Hellman, however, said that Nisonoff had not given him any medical history on his patient. Hellman found Betty to be " a desperately ill woman," clearly suffering from peritonitis and moribund.

Nisonoff dictated a letter to the Board of Health:

Joseph Nisonoff, 145 West 71st Street, New York, Phone, Susquehanna 7-4457

November 16, 1942.

Gentlemen:

This is to inform you that Mrs. Betty McGeehan is under my care at the Prospect Hospital, 730 Kelly Street, diagnosis, incomplete abortion and probable pelvic peritonitis or double salpingitis.

Respectfully yours,

J. Nisonoff

The End Draws Near

On the morning of Tuesday, November 17, Betty received last rites.

Elters called Nisonoff later that day to ask if he could see Betty. Nisonoff told him to come by the office and he could go to the hospital with Ewald. While Elters waited for the nurse to come to the office, Nisonoff told him to make sure he told Betty to say that she'd had the abortion performed somewhere else and to say that Nisonoff had not performed it.

Ewald arrived at the office and she and Elters drove to the hospital together. They spent about half an hour with Betty. As Elters and Ewald left the hospital they met Nisonoff outside on the sidewalk. Elters asked for a prognosis and Nisonoff told him that Betty was going to die. He stressed to Elters that it was very important that he not talk about the matter.  He urged Elters to go back to Hazleton and act normally and say that he'd not seen or heard from Betty for about a year. Camille Ewald testified that Nisonoff also told Elters to deny ever having seen any of the parties involved in the abortion -- not Weinstein, not Nisonoff, and not Ewald -- or they would all go to jail. He had Ewald get the phone number for Betty's mother.

Ewald went to Weinstein's office, where Weinstein told him not to say that he'd accompanied the young couple to Nisonoff's office.

Rather than returning to Hazleton, Elters left for Baltimore.

Meanwhile Nisonoff and Ewald returned to the office. Nisonoff called Rita McGeehan, telling her that her daughter was very ill at Prospect Maternity Hospital and that she should meet him at his office and they'd go to the hospital together.

Betty's Death

Betty breathed her last at 7:05 on the morning of Wednesday, November 18, 1942. Nisonoff wrote out the death certificate in the name of Betty McGee:

I hereby certify that I attended the deceased from November 15, 1942 to November 18, 1942 and last saw her alive at 6 A.M. on November 18, 1942. Statement of cause of death is based upon - principal cause of death: general peritonitis. Date of onset: November 16th; contributory cause of death: incomplete abortion.

Later that morning Nisonoff told Camille Ewald that Mrs. McGeehan had gone to the hospital and that Betty had died. She said that Nisonoff also told her to say that Weinstein had done the abortion in his office then called Nisonoff, who had arranged for hospitalization. She said she was also to say that she lived on 61st Street, with Nisonoff's niece, Pearl Davis Tense, who was also his nurse at the 71st Street office.

The Investigation Begins

Detective Thomas M. Farrell went to the hospital to investigate Betty's death. Noting that Nisonoff had signed the death certificate he phoned him and asked him about the circumstances. Nisonoff told him that he'd been called in by Weinstein for a consultation and provided Weinstein's address at 1684 Macombs Road in the Bronx. Detective Farrell then went to the Fordham Morgue and observed the autopsy performed by Dr. Louis Lefkowitz, Assistant Medical Examiner. (Lefkowitz died suddenly and unexpectedly on March 6, 1943, a few days before Nisonoff's trial began.)

Dr. Lefkowitz noted in the autopsy:

Lying at the brim of the pelvis, free in the peritoneal cavity, between two coils of intestine is a portion of a foetus, which consists of the lower three cervical vertebrae, all the thoracic and lumbar vertebrae, the ribs of the left side, and some loose tissue. The ribs on the other side, and the head, are absent. This specimen measures about 3 inches in length and is mangled. 

On the anterior surface of the uterus about 1/2 inch below the uppermost portion of the fundus is an irregular perforation, which readily admits the index finger; measures about 1/2 to 3/4 inches in diameter. It is roughly round in shape; the edges are necrotic, and ragged and from there protrudes some blood-clot. The perforation above-described penetrates the entire thickness of the anterior uterine wall, and there is some adherent placenta and membranes at the right fornix of the uterus. The remaining portion of the fundus of the uterus seems to be denuded of endometrium. There is some subendometrial haemorrhage in the internal os, which is dilated and readily admits a finger-tip. The walls of the uterus are soft and oedematous.

After observing the autopsy Detective Farrell went to Weinstein's office to question him about the first time he'd seen Madylon McGeehan. Weinstein gave the detective a card that read "Betty McGeehan -- November 15, 1942, vaginal bleeding, abdominal pain, rapid pulse, Dr. Nisonoff called on consultation, admitted to Prospect Hospital."

Weinstein told Farrell that he'd gotten a phone call from Betty on November 15, requesting a consult for vaginal bleeding. He had told her that he didn't have Sunday office hours, but she insisted on being seen so he told her to meet him at his office at 11:30 that morning. When Betty arrived she was accompanied by "Henry Eltus," a man Weinstein had known for about four years. Weinstein said that due to the bleeding he did not do a vaginal examination but did take her vital signs before recommending that she see a gynecologist. He suggested Nisonoff. Nisonoff was at the wedding of his niece, Pearl Davis, who also worked as his receptionist. Weinstein managed to get hold of him and arrange for him to come and examine Betty. Nisonoff arrived at around 1:00 that afternoon, preformed a thorough examination, and recommended that Betty be hospitalized. Weinstein said that Nisonoff took Betty to Prospect Hospital in a tax

Weinstein told Farrell that he'd gone to the hospital on the 16th to consult with Nisonoff , who had told him that Betty was very ill. Weinstein said that the next time he'd gone to the hospital was Wednesday morning, only to learn that Betty had died.

Arrests

At the time of Madylon's death, Nisonoff was out on $2,500 bail after being charged with performing another abortion, which the woman had survived. He had been arrested and freed on another abortion charge in 1930. During six hours of questioning, he denied any knowledge of Madylon's death. Nevertheless, he was arrested for homicide. The Assistant District Attorney asked that Nisonoff's bail be set at $150,000 because he was considered a flight risk. 

Pearl Tense, age 22, had fled to Texas but was tracked down, arrested, and held on $2,500 bail. 

Ewald was harder to track down. He was eventually located, arrested, and held on $15,000 bail. 

The manslaughter charge against Ewald was dropped and she was held as a material witness on $10,000 bail. 

NOTE: At this point I became confused by the timeline and conflicting testimony and gave up. Below are my notes. I'll catch this up next year on the anniversary of Betty's death.


On November 15, Elters was told that Madylon needed a blood transfusion. She was admitted to Prospect Hospital as Betty McGee. The admitting diagnosis was "incomplete abortion, probably peritonitis." Nisonoff sent a letter to the New York City Board of Health to that effect the following day. Somebody had called Nisonoff, who said that he guessed Madylon was "okay," and stayed at the wedding rather than come to attend to her himself. Madylon received three blood transfusions at the hospital.



A primary grounds for the appeal was that the Medical Examiner who had performed the autopsy and signed off on the report, Dr. Louis L. Lefkowitz, had died before the trial and thus could not be cross-examined by the defense. The city's Chief Medical Examiner, Dr. Thomas A. Gonzales, testified based on the autopsy report.

Camille Ewald arrested November 24 with Nisonoff.

After her death there, she was correctly identified by her sister, Mary, who had come came from the family home at Hazleton, PA, to claim Madylon's body.

Nisonoff was sentenced to 5 years in state prison, and Weinstein was sentenced to the city penitentiary.

As a result of the McGeehan case, the New York District Attorney's office began investigating other possible abortion rings in the city.

Nisonoff was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney James Carney. He and Camille Ewals were arrested at his apartment at 110 Riverside Drive on November 25. 

The indictment charged that Nisonoff, Weinstein, Pear Davis Tense, and Camille Ewald committed an abortion on Madylon on November 13, 1942. At the beginning of the trial charges against Pearl Tense were dismissed at the request of the District Attorney. 

Assistant District Attorney Francis X. O'Brien asserted that Nisonoff failed to provide any care to Madylon as she lay dying because he was attending the wedding of his niece, who was also his secretary.

Camille Ewald told the authorities that her boss was a professional abortionist who perpetrated between 20 and 25 abortions per week, which earned him $2,500 to $3,000. This seems a bit off, as Elters reportedly paid $600 for Madylon's abortion while if Camille was telling the truth Nisonoff would have been charging an average of about $125 for an abortion.

Joseph Nisonoff was sentenced to 5 - 15 years in state prison. Max J. Weinstein was sentenced to New York City Penitentiary for an indefinite term. On May 21, 1943 New York Supreme Court Justice Louis A. Valente granted a Certificate of Reasonable Doubt and Nisonoff and Weinstein were released on bail. His appeal ultimately failed.

Madylon's death and the subsequent investigation were covered extensively in New York, but not in her hometown newspaper. In fact, one obituary indicates that she died in Washington, D.C. of pneumonia rather than in New York. Buried in Saint Gabriel Roman Catholic Cemetery in Hazleton.

Sources: