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Another Baby Dies As Did Bollinger Boy

From: Dr. Haiselden And The Bollinger Baby
Creator: n/a
Date: December 8, 1915
Publication: The Chicago Daily Tribune
Source: Available at selected libraries

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Grace Werder Called Hopelessly Defective at German-American Hospital

Trial for Haiselden.

Science again has folded its arms and again a weakling Chicago baby has paid its debt to the law of eugenics. The child was Grace Werder, whose life, it is admitted, could have been saved by the surgeon's knife, but who nevertheless was a hopeless defective, physically.


Dr. Harry Haiselden, who was yesterday cited for trial at the hands of the Chicago Medical society for permitting the Bollinger baby to die, placed his stamp of approval on the death of Baby Werder, who lived from Nov. 30 to Dec. 2.


The news of the second "passive killing" came to light during the day at the German-American hospital.


The attending physician in the Werder case was Dr. Jacob Faltermayer. In agreement with him as to the medical problem were Dr. Clarence Rutherford and Dr. Haiselden. They were agreed the baby could have been saved to a defective life.

Father Agrees to Baby's Death

The father, Julius Werder of 4646 North Hermitage avenue, refused to accede to the operation that, it is supposed, would have saved his life. Even when Dr. Faltermayer telegraphed to New York asking Dr. Haiselden's advice, the father registered his stern objections.


Mr. Werder, who formerly was an instructor in the State Industrial school at Rochester, N.Y., called the death of the baby a godsend.


According to the official hospital report the baby was discovered to have a hydrocephalic head, with water tumors, and a paralysis of the lower extremities.

Mother Did Not See Baby

From the time of its birth at 9:30 p.m. on Nov. 30 Mrs. Werder was not permitted to see her child. There is a similarity between the cases of the Werder baby and that of the Bollingers. The Bollinger baby was the fourth child of Mrs. Bollinger. Grace Werder was the fourth daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Werder. The Werders' three living daughters are healthy and strong.


Dr. Faltermayer decided as soon as he saw the Werder infant that it should not live. He made a careful examination and explained to the father its defects. Mr. Werder joined the physician in the opinion that the baby should not live. After its death the circumstances were explained to Mrs. Werder and she, too, agreed with her physician that the child was better off dead.

"Would Have Been Imbecile"

"This baby would have been an imbecile" said Dr. Faltermayer. "It would have hated its parents and have been a reproach to the humanity that brought it to life. We are spending our scientific energies in improving animals. I believe we should pay some attention to improving human beings.


The Werder baby's head was what is known as hydrocephalic; 18 inches in diameter. One ear was grown flat against the head and there was a tumor above it. Lobeless ears or the absence of any organ of senses are certain signs of imbecility."


The father was grimly satisfied that the best action had been taken. The infant which had been taken by a nurse and baptized with the name "Grace" to the joy of the mother had blue eyes and curly hair. But Mr. Werder declared himself content.


"I was not moved by the Bollinger case," he said. "I read little of it. But when these things come home I tell you it's hard to decide other than I have done. I wanted the child to die -- though I might have grown to love it.


"I am a believer in prenatal influences and I believe firmly that the sight of a hopeless paralytic in a wheel chair which gave my wife a nervous shock was the cause of this."

That's Right Says Haiselden

Dr. Haiselden concurred in this view.


"There is no doubt that monstrous things have their effect on a prospective mother," he said. "And this may have had its effect on Mrs. Werder. The Werder baby could have been saved by an operation for spina bifida which would have drawn the membranes together and thus prevented spinal meningitis, which caused the death of the baby. But it is a thousand times better dead.


"I have just returned from New York, where I was called to view the so-called Roberts baby. This case is worse than the Roberts case plus the Bollinger baby. This child moaned feebly and refused nourishment. It was plainly and impossibly defective."

Father in Tears

Mr. Werder shed tears as he told of the birth and death of the infant girl.


"I know there are those who will think me hard hearted," he said, "but I did not have the heart to force that baby to live. Dr. Faltermayer told me an operation would save it. But I refused to let him operate. IT would have been sin. The baby would have lived for years, perhaps, and every day of its life would have been a curse to me and its mother. I thank God it is dead."

Dr. Haiselden's Trial

Dr. Haiselden will be tried before the ethical relations committee of the Medical society on charges of unethical conduct in advertising the Baby Bollinger case. Dr. Haiselden will be expelled from the society if the verdict is against him.

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