On October 13, 1908, 19-year-old Cathy R. died at Cook County Hospital from complications of a self-induced abortion.

CathyR.jpgNineteen-year-old "Cathy," identified in the source as "Miss R," used a catheter on herself to abort a six-week pregnancy. She went to a doctor for aftercare, and the physician packed her uterus with gauze.

Two days later, on September 25, 1908, she was admitted to Cook County Hospital. Her condition wasn't alarming. Her pulse of 90, respirations of 24, and temperature of 99.6 indicated a mild infection. Her uterus was enlarged and tender. Upon examination, a doctor was able to put two fingers through Cathy's dilated cervix, and noted "blood clots" in the uterus.

The next day, Cathy's condition was very much the same, if not slightly improved with a pulse of 80, respirations of 28, and temperature of 99.4. She was subjected to a uterine curettage, followed by irrigation and packing.

All the surgery did was make things worse. The localized infection had, through the scraping of the uterus, become a generalized case of toxemia. Cathy's condition deteriorated over the course of 17 days until her death on October 13.

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


Possible ID: Minnie Rosenbloom, who died October 13 at Cook County Hospital, per county commissioner records, though death records for Cook County give date of death as October 14.