Ophilia F.

SUMMARY: Ophelia died on December 15, 1910, from complications of an abortion perpetrated by a Chicago midwife.

OphiliaF.jpg“Ophelia,” identified in the source document as “Mrs. F.,” had an abortion performed by a Chicago midwife on December 9, 1910.

Three days later, she suffered chills and fever. The following day, December 13, she was admitted to Cook County Hospital. As the source document states, “The case was hopeless from the time of admission.” Ophelia’s pulse was racing at 148, her respirations 48. Her fever was 105. Her abdomen was distended. She had cold sweats. Her fingernails were blue from lack of oxygen. She was suffering from delirium and vomiting.

Ophelia died December 15 from general peritonitis.

Chicago death records indicate only one woman close to childbearing age, with a surname beginning with F, who died on December 15, 1910: Anna Fauser, age 51. If we allow a one-day margin of error, we have Mary Fiala, age 42, and Martha Fitzpatrick, age 41, who died on December 14 and Anna Felton, age 50, who died on December 16.

Source: “A Study Of and Deductions From Fifty Fatal Cases of Puerperal Fever,” Dr. Herbert Marion Stowe, Surgery Gynecology and Obstetrics, 1912, Part 1 and Part 2