Saturday, April 22, 2017

Chicago Doctors and Midwives, 1910-1923

Many physicians and midwives plied their trade as abortionists in early 20th century Chicago.

On April 22, 1923, 30-year-old Daisy Singerland died at Chicago's Robert Burns Hospital from complications of a criminal abortion performed earlier that day.  On June 1, 54-year-old Dr. James W. Lipscomb was indicted for felony murder in Daisy's death. I have been unable to determine the final outcome of the case.

On February 19, 1920, one of those midwives, 40-year-old Mary Simkus, evidently perpetrated an abortion on 28-year-old homemaker Sophia Krawczyk in the Krawczyk home.  After the abortion, Sophie took ill. Eventually she was taken to Cook County Hospital, where she died from sepsis on April 22.  Simka was indicted for Sophie's death, but for reasons I have been unable to determine the case never went to trial.

"Phyllis," identified in the source document as "Mrs. M.," was 46 years old when she had an abortion performed by a physician in Chicago on or around April 4, 1910.  The abortion was followed by pain, fever, and hemorrhage. On April 18, about two weeks after the abortion, she was admitted to Cook County Hospital with a pulse of 102, respirations of 24, and fever of 102. She was in a stupor upon admission, with her tongue dry and furred. Her abdomen was distended and tender. Her liver was enlarged. The lower lobe of her right lung had sounds indicating the presence of fluid.  That evening, Phyllis became delirious and had to be restrained to her bed. Staff were unable to record a pulse for her, but her temperature had risen to 102.4 and her respirations were a racing 50 per minute.  Phyllis died on April 22 from peritonitis and septic pneumonia.

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