SUMMARY: On September 27, 1908, Sophie G died at Chicago’s Cook County Hospital after an abortion perpetrated by a midwife.
On September 23, 1908, “Mrs. G.,” whom I call “Sophie,” was admitted to Cook County Hospital in Chicago.
Two weeks earlier, when she was ten weeks pregnant, she had undergone an abortion at the hands of a midwife. She began suffering from chills, fever, and abdominal pain about five days later. After two days of these symptoms, a physician treated her with a curettage to try to remove retained material, but this left Sophie feeling even worse.
Over the course of the ensuing week Sophie’s condition deteriorated. When she was finally admitted she had a very tender, distended abdomen. Her pulse was racing at 120, her respiration a rapid 30. Her fever was 101.4. She was speaking incoherently. An internal examination found an enlarge uterus, a swollen cervix, and a purulent vaginal discharge.
On September 26, her condition was little changed. An additional surgery was attempted, involving dilating her cervix, curetting the uterus, then irrigating the uterus and packing it with gauze.
The results were catastrophic. Sophie’s fever spiked to 108.6, her pulse 160 and her respirations 58. She died on September 27, 19 hours after the surgery.
Cook County death records indicate that 35-year-old Annie Gatiss died on September 27, 1908. Annie’s name is on a listing of inquest fees collected in Cook County in October of 1908. She died at Cook County Hospital on September 27, 1908 and her body was removed to F.J. King the following day. There was also a fee for an inquest performed on the body of Annie Gatiss in October of 1908. Annie was a homemaker
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