Saturday, July 11, 2020

Three Chicago Deaths

Three Deaths in Early 20th Century Chicago

On July 11, 1904, Alma Swanson (link broken), 24-year-old wife of Morris Swanson, died at her Chicago home from an abortion performed there that day. Midwife Constance Marie Anderson was arrested and held by Coroner's Jury on July 15. (Source: Homicide in Chicago Interactive Database, not sure what else!)

At six weeks pregnant, 24-year-old "Cathy", identified in the source document as "Mrs. W.," used a catheter on herself to perform an abortion. All seemed well for three weeks, but then she took sick. On July 7, 1909, three weeks after taking ill, Cathy was admitted to Cook County Hospital by a doctor who had diagnosed her as suffering from typhoid fever. Her pulse was 144, her respirations 42, and her temperature 104.8. The Widal test for typhoid came back negative. Cathy's blood culture showed streptococci instead. Her leucocyte count was 8,800. Cathy developed an abscess on her left forearm, and it too tested positive for streptococci. For reasons the source document does not make clear, the septicemia was attributed to the self-induced abortion. Doctors were unable to fight the infection, and Cathy died on July 11.

On July 11, 1920, 36-year-old homemaker Vincenza Romans died at Chicago's Columbus Hospital from septicemia after an abortion. A midwife named Marie Lendino was arrested, and was indicted on July 15, but the case never went to trial for reasons the source does not indicate.

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