Henry C. Dorroh

In mid-April of 1928, Dr. T. D. Goodman was called to see Bessie Kouns, and found her in a great deal of pain, with considerable swelling and tenderness of the lower abdomen from peritonitis. His treatment was not effective, so on the 17th he had her admitted to Stephenson Hospital in Ashland, Kentucky. There, Bessie’s condition continued to deteriorate. On the 24th, the peritonitis had caused bowel obstruction, requiring surgery. Prior to the surgery, which Bessie did not expect to survive, she made a deathbed statement to Dr. Stephenson indicating that she had submitted to an abortion perpetrated by a drunken, abusive quack of a doctor named H.C. Dorroh. Despite the surgery, Bessie died on May 1. Dorroh was convicted in Bessie’s death, but on appeal the conviction was set aside and a new trial ordered.

Henry Clay Dorroh was born December 23, 1868 in Caldwell County, Kentucky, and died April 18, 1935 in Ashland, Kentucky at the age of 66 of congestive heart failure.