Thursday, March 25, 2021

March 25: Three Convictions Overturned in Third Patient Death INCORPORATE STUFF FROM NEW ARTICLES BELOW

In the spring of 1933, Edward Dettman's 21-year-old girlfriend, Mary Colbert, told him that she'd missed her period and wanted an abortion.  On March 15, Edward took her to 68-year-old Dr. Emil Gleitsman. Dettman agreed to pay $50 for the abortion in weekly installments of $8.

While Edward was present, Gleitsman examined Mary, inserted an instrument to perform the abortion, and inserted cotton soaked with a dark brown medicine.

About a week later, the couple returned to Gleitsmann's office. Edward waited while Gleitsmann took Mary back into his exam room.

On March 21, Mary took ill was cared for by her aunts. She asked one of them, Annie Colluden, to summon Gleitsmann. After Gleitsmann finished tending to Mary and was preparing to leave, Mrs. Collunden said, "Doctor, there has been something done to that girl.

Gleitsmann responded, "Yes. They get in trouble. They come to me and I help them out."

Mary later confided in her aunts about the abortion.

Mary died on March 25. Coroner's Physician Samuel A. Levinson performed an autopsy. He concluded that Mary had been three or four months into pregnancy when a criminal abortion was performed and that she'd died from the results. He said that the abortion was performed with instruments though he did not describe any lacerations, perforations, or abrasions in Mary's uterus.

When the police questioned Gleitsmann, he said that Mary and Edward had come to his office. Dettman, claiming to be Mary's husband, had told him that Mary was in a lot of pain and something needed to be done quickly. Gleitsmann said he'd quickly examined Mary and didn't find her to be pregnant but did find her to be suffering from blood poisoning and peritonitis. He said he treated her several time between that visit and her death.

He also denied having had the conversation with Mary's aunt.

Gleitsman had previously been was indicted for 22-year-old Lucille van Iderstine's abortion death in 1928 and for perpetrating a fatal abortion on Jeanette Reder in 1930.

Gleitsmann was found guilty of manslaughter on September 26, 1934 after having twice successfully appealed his convictions. His third conviction was also overturned on the grounds that the principle witness, Edward Dettman, was not only an accomplice in the alleged abortion but was a man of low character who had gotten Mary pregnant while married and the father of two children.

This left Gleitsmann free to continue practicing. He was later convicted of the abortion death of Marie O'Malley and sentenced to 14 years in prison at the age of 77.

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