New York Herald/1868/The Amity Place Malpractice Case

The Amity Place Malpractice Case (1868)

Susannah Lattin (1848-1868) in the New York Herald on September 11, 1868.

3482102The Amity Place Malpractice Case1868

The Amity Place Malpractice Case Continuation of the Inquest. Further Developments of the Hidden Ways of Metropolitan Life. The inquest in the case of Miss Susannah Lattin, who died in the private lying-in establishment of Dr. Grindle, No. 6 Amity place, was continued yesterday before Coroner Rollins. George A. Lockwood, the first witness examined, testified that he lived at No. 6 Amity place since January last, studying under Dr. Grindle; he was also a student of the New York University; knew Dr. Grindle as a graduate of the University; the character of his business he believed to be obstetrics and family practice generally; women can be attended to at his house, and since January probably twenty female cases have been treated by him; the women represent themselves as married in most cases, but could not say what representations some of them make; these women have all been delivered of livings children; they are adopted out to whomsoever hap-pens to call for them; no fee is paid by the person who adopts a child, and no record is kept of the people who apply for children; but there is a regular certificate sent to the Board of Health for every birth that takes place in the house; Dr. Grindle generally attends the women who are confined unless they require the madam; the Doctor does not profess to produce any miscarriages; the deceased, Susannah Lattin, came to the house Thursday, August 6; she appeared enceinte, but otherwise well; she was delivered Friday night, August 7; another woman was delivered the same night; Mrs. Grindle attended in both instances; he believed it was Mr. Powell brought the deceased to the house; her child was adopted on Monday or Tuesday; an advertisement in reference to it was previously put in the Herald by himself; he was told by Dr. Grindle that the child had been taken away, but did not himself know by whom; after confinement the deceased seemed very comfortable, but after the doctor went away she had an attack of diarrhea; Dr. Dorn was consulted and presented for her; the medicine was administered, but she grew worse, and on Saturday Dr. Dorn came in person, visited her twice and sometimes three times a day; the diarrhea attacked her four or five times a day; Dr. Dorn pronounced her disease typhoid fever; the symptoms continued the same till Wednesday, when she appeared to grow worse; witness went to the country at this time, and knew nothing further about her case; he learned on his return that a gentleman named Powell had been to see her; he found on coming back that Miss Lattin was perfectly rational; had no conversation with her except to ask how she felt; Wednesday, the 28th of August, she became much worse than she had been; Dr. Finnell was then called in, and he said there would be a decided change one way or the other in twenty-four hours from the time he saw her; she died Thursday night, the 27th of August, at eight o'clock. William F. Tate, 580 Myrtle avenue, Brooklyn, testified that about the middle of last July a man and woman hired apartments over his store, bought range, furniture and cooking utensils from him and gave their names as Mr. and Mrs. Smith. They appeared to live together as man and wife and so lived for a period of three weeks. The man came to him on Friday, the 28th of August, to sell the goods back, saying that Mrs. Smith had died the previous evening; he did not say where or how. Recognized Powell (who was present in the room) as the man who gave the name of Smith. [Powell is a man about thirty-five years of age, with large whiskers, mustache and beard, wears a dark alpaca coat and light gray pantaloons, with vest of the same color. He is rather stout and might weigh between 180 and 200 pounds.] John Meagher deposed that he lived at 580 Myrtle avenue, Brooklyn; about the beginning of July a man and woman came to live there by the name of Smith; missed them between the 25th of July and 1st of August; recognize Powell as the man who gave his name as Smith. George Powell, living at the corner of Marcy and Willoughby avenues, Brooklyn, testified that his brother married Susannah Lattin's sister; was well acquainted with her family and had known Susannah for a long time; as well as he could remember she came to him at Fulton Market about the middle of last April and asked him if he could befriend her, as she had not one else to apply to; he said he would, and hired a room for her in the Franklin House, but after a week she became dissatisfied and wanted to keep house, on the 15th of July he hired a room for her under the name of Miss Smith, not Mrs. Smith; she then said she wanted to go to Dr. Grindle's to be confined and wanted him to assist her; she made the arrangements herself and he furnished the money; she told him she got into that condition by a man named Houghton, who had run away or left, call it which you like; from the 3rd to, the 7th of July she was at Dr. Harrison's; when she came back on the 7th he told her that if no one else would be her friend, he would befriend her enough to find her a place to stop; he could not tell how she came to go to Dr. Harrison, nor what arrangement was between them, except that she told him the Doctor had procured a warding place but she would have to pay her own board; they did not pass under the name of Mr. and Mrs. Smith; she asked for money to go to Dr. Grindle's for confinement; he gave her the money and told her she could go there or stay where she was, just as she liked; on the 15th of August she proposed for her to see Dr. Grindle; witness saw Grindle on that day; he wanted more money than witness wanted to give him; he wanted $150, and witness went away at once. Q. Was this to confine her, or to get rid of the child? A. For confinement; we left together; I gave her $100 next day and told her if the Doctor had a mind to take her for that, she might go there; she then went there herself; on Sunday I called to see her; I found her smart; she had been delivered; she said the child was alive and was to be adopted out; in six days after her confinement she did not seem quite so smart; she said she was troubled with diarrhea; that was the main difficulty as far as she knew; Dr. Dorn was called in and attended her up to her death. George C. Houghton was then brought in and sworn. He said he now resided at Philadelphia; went there on the 5th of August, to remain permanently; was acquainted with the deceased, Susannah Lattin, since the latter part of December, 1887; she came into the store where he was employed and bought a pair of shoes; there was another lady with her at the time; they were both quite talkative; when going out Miss Lattin said she was always going to buy her shoes there, and buy them of him; she also asked what his name was; Miss Lattin said she wished him to call and see her at the same time giving him her address on a piece of paper; he went on Sunday to see her, and upon arrival rang the bell; some of the people of the house came to the door; he asked for Miss Lattin, was shown into the parlor, and she came in alone; after a while he asked her where her company was; she replied that they had all disappointed her and she did not suppose they would be there; he remained a short time and went home; he did not see her again till the following week, when she again called and said she wished him to call again before she would go home; the next that he saw of her was in April; she came to the store, and after talking a moment said that she was in trouble and wished him td help her; suppose she meant by that that she was in the family way; asked her what was the matter; she did not tell at first, but afterwards said she was enceinte; that her parents had sent her away from home; that she had not a friend in the world and no place to go to; he then asked her why she didn't go to the author of her trouble instead of coming to him as she knew very well he had nothing to do with it in any way; she said, "I know you had not, but the person who is the cause of it cannot help me;" he asked her why; she said she did not wish to tell him then, but if he would assist her she would tell him; after her pleadings, he asked her how much money she wanted; she said she had a few dollars herself and if she had a few more she thought she could get herself all right; he then gave her $10 and she left the store, saying she was going to see a doctor in New York; when he saw her again she came to the store and said she had derived no benefit from the medicine; she said she had again seen the doctor and he told her that if she would come there and stay a short time he would fix her all right; she wished his advice whether she had better go or not; she previously told him that the cause of her trouble was a young man in a large dry goods store in one of the streets leading out of the Bowery; she told him also that before coming to him in Brooklyn in the spring she had been there to see him and they told her he was dead, after she went to Bleecker street she prevailed on witness to come and see her; he came there the next Sunday afternoon and saw both her and Doctor Harrison; saw the doctor at the office and saw her at a house in Washington place which he understood Harrison had procured for her; she assured him that he would help her through and get her out of her trouble he should be well paid for what he had done for her, as she thought her parents would receive her home again: he finally consented and made arrangements with Harrison to furnish her with medicine and board; he gave Harrison $50; he said it would take from one to two weeks, he thought; he called several times to see her daring the first ten days that she was there; she said that she was get-ting on nicely, and that she thought she would soon be relieved of her troubles; she did not say that she bad an operation performed upon her. Question by the Coroner — What did you give Dr. Harrison this money for? A. To give her medicine. Q. What - for an abortion? A. No, sir. Dr. Harrison — It was quite the reverse, wasn't it? A. Yes, sir. The Coroner to Dr. Harrison — You have nothing to say here, sir. Deputy Coroner — Q. What did you pay Dr. Harrison for, to cure of dropsy, rheumatism, or what? A. She believed she was in the family way. Q. When you spent the evening with her in December last were you not in the room all alone with her? A. Not all the time; when I say she entered the parlor alone, I am not sure but the gentleman or the lady of the house came with her; I am not quite sure of that; please add to my statement that she told me the young man who was the cause of her trouble called on her in Brooklyn while she was there. Houghton is a young man, probably twenty-eight years of age, rather regular features, Grecian nose, light whiskers, mustache and goatee; hair dark brown. He was voluble and straightforward in his testimony. The inquest was then adjourned till Tuesday, the 8th inst., at half-past ten o'clock. Houghton, who has been in custody since Monday, was permitted by the Coroner to go on his parole, With an intimation that he should attend on Tuesday. Dr. Grindle was present during the, examination of the last three witnesses.

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Notes: $150 in 1878 is the equivalent of $4,000 in 2020.