Thursday, October 18, 2007

Researching criminal abortionists

I've been tidying up my pages over at RealChoice, particularly the page on Abortionists of the 20th Century. As I added the link for Anna Johnson to my entry about Eva Shaver, I was reminded that she'd also been implicated in the death of a woman in 1914. So I hopped over to the Homicide in Chicago Interactive Database to track down more information.

I found a few details on the woman who died in 1914. Her name was Lillie Giovenco, she was 18 years old, and she lingered for nearly a month before dying. Two other doctors -- Leopold Pijan and John Fernow -- were also fingered by the coroner in Lillie's death.

The name of Leopold Pijan is familiar to me because it's similar to the name of a man identified as a "scrub nurse" and convicted of the 1955 abortion death of Jacqueline Smith in New York: Leobaldo Pejuan.

Now, Leopold and Leopoldo aren't exactly your everyday names. Ditto for Pejuan and Pijan.

The spelling of names on the Homicide in Chicago database can also be off, because the database took information from handwritten records. Illegibility of the original handwriting could easily lead to misspellings. I've seen names spelled different ways on a single page of the database.

So I'm wondering if the Dr. Leopold Pijan from Chicago, having lost his license for the death of Lillie Giovenco, went to New York and got work as a scrub nurse that allowed him to continue to ply his abortion trade. If he was a young man when Lillie died, it's not unreasonable for him to still be in practice as an abortionist forty years later.

Does anybody know? This is the second time I've asked, but it never hurts to ask again.

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