Woman Died From Operation

by Laurel | May 3rd, 2010

May 3, 1905

Autopsy Performed in Holyoke Abortion Case — Inquest Will be Held at Once — Mrs. Hagar Not Arraigned Yesterday.

Medical examiner Holyoke, assisted by Drs. J. P. Shine and J. A Donner, performed an autopsy upon the body of Mrs. Laura Cohen at Lathrop’s undertaking rooms in Holyoke yesterday forenoon. Death was definitely determined to have been caused almost instantly by the formation of an air embolism — or, in plainer terms, an air bubble — which, passing through the veins to the heart, acted like any other foreign substance and stopped the heart’s action. The woman was pregnant, and the organs of the woman were found to be in a natural state and perfectly healthy. It was evident some sort of an operation had been performed, either by the woman herself or some one else. As a result of the autopsy, Medical Examiner Holyoke announced yesterday that an inquest would be held as soon as possible.

It is probable that Mrs. Hagar will bot be arraigned until after the inquest has been completed. She was bot brought before the court yesterday at all. Her being present at the time the woman died and other facts in the possession of the police are the reasons alleged for holding her. It appears that Mrs. Cohen’s husband was upstairs at the time, and there is evidence in the possession of the medical examiner that Mrs. Cohen and Mrs. Hagar went into the Cohen bedroom together. Shortly after being there Mrs. Cohen shrieked and called aloud for help. Mr. Cohen came down to find his wife dying on the bed, and exclaimed to Mrs. Hagar, “You have killed my wife.” Mrs. Hagar is said to have urged at once that Dr. Donner be sent for but before he arrived Mrs. Cohen was dead.

The news of the death of Mrs. Cohen created profound interest throughout Holyoke, owing in part to the increasing number of stories that have been about the city for the past year or so regarding abortions being secured by physicians and others in this city and Holyoke. One woman is said to come up weekly from this city in the interests of a physician who makes a specialty of performing these operations, and tales are told about one or two deaths that have been due to this cause, which have been covered up by some other name and the real cause of death ignored. The husbands of the two women naturally come into a share of sympathy in this sad affair. Ferdinand Hagar is a farmer living at 317 Hampden street, and the dead woman’s husband is Louis Cohen, who is a tailor on lower High street. The results of the inquest and trial are likely to bring out some facts of unrest to Holyoke people generally.

From The Springfield Republican.

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