Saturday, February 12, 2011

1907: Two docs, one death

On February 12, 1907, Miss Nellie Walsh, age 28, died at National Emergency Hospital in Chicago from complications of a criminal abortion performed that day.

Two physicians, Adolph Buettner and Patrick O'Connell, were arrested. O'Connell was acquitted, but Buettner was sentenced to Joliet.

Nellie's abortion was typical in that it was performed by a physician.

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 about abortion and abortion deaths in the first years of the 20th century, see Abortion Deaths 1900-1909.

For more on pre-legalization abortion, see The Bad Old Days of Abortion

Sources: Homicide in Chicago Interactive Database

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