Mary Jane Douds20s, 1900s, infection, illegalunknownSUMMARY Mary Jane Douds, age 26, died May 21, 1900 after an abortion performed by an unknown perpetrator in Pittsburgh, PA.
According to her husband, Baptist, 26-year-old homemaker Mary Jane Douds had been in ill health for four years. When he’d come home from work on the morning of Monday, May 18, 1900, he found her sick in bed. He wanted to call a doctor, but “she would not have it.” Baptist figured that his wife must be menstruating, since she always had difficult periods.
When he came home on Saturday, he found Mary Jane in even worse condition. He sent for Dr. Staub, who treated her four or five times before recommending that she go to the hospital on Sunday. Mary Jane refused, asking for her old doctor, Dr. Heurits of Turtle Creek, who came to the house at about noon.
Heurits examined Mary Jane, and said “there was no danger for her to keep quiet and she would be all right in a few days.” He prescribed medication for Mary Jane, but she couldn’t keep it down.
Baptist sent for another doctor, J.J. Green, who arrived at about 8:30 on the evening of May 20, then sent for his assistant, who stayed to provide care to Mary Jane under Green’s supervision until about 3 a.m. She got weaker and finally lost consciousness a few minutes before her death at around 9:00 a.m. On May 21.
Green diagnosed her cause of death as septic peritonitis from an abortion performed by an unknown perpetrator.
Source: Coroner records