Saturday, February 23, 2013

1913 - New Identification Procedures Adopted after Switched Baby Incident

The Washington Times
February 23 1913

ERROR IN BABIES
STIRS HUNDREDS
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Parents of Beatrice Kaufman
Head City-Wide Search for
Missing Offspring.
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FEARS OF ALL INCREASED
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Mistake in Buried Baby Case Leads
Other Women to Fear for Fate of Own
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Philadelphia Feb. 23--Two hundred or more parents who have children at the Municipal Hospital where a case of mistaken identity in the burial of a child occurred last week, are frantic over the latest findings of the officials of the institution.

The parents of Beatrice Kaufman, two and one-half years old, supposed to have died and its body buried on January 18, convinced that it was not the body of their child, but that of Mollie Engleman, are now heading a city-wide search for their missing offspring.

Fears are Increasing.
Mother and Baby Restored
After She Believed It
Buried
Mrs Mary Engleman & Mollie
Engleman,
Sadie Engleman below.
The fears of another hundred parents whose children died at the contagious disease institution, are increasing.  If a mistake was made in the Kaufman case, they say, is it not possible that one may have occurred in their own they are asking.

Where is Beatrice Kaufman,, if the body buried and then exhumed is not that of hers?

The announcement by Mrs. and Mrs. Isadore Kaufman that the disinterred child is not their daughter, represents the third chapter in the most complicated case of mixed identities ever known in this city.  The first chapter was the turning over of a body of a girl to Mrs. Mary Engleman, and its burial as that of her child.  The second was the revelation that a child turned over as cured of scarlet fever to Mr. and Mrs. Kaufman is not their Beatrice, but that she is in reality the daughter of Mrs. Engleman, who the health authorities supposed, had buried the Kaufman child.

Now it has developed into a clinch between the health Department and Isadore Kaufman.  The declaration that the exhumed body is not his daughter was reiterated by Kaufman today.  His wife added her denial that the child is theirs.  The latter's mother-in-law, who also viewed the remains, supplemented this denial with the assertion that she has "no way of telling whether the body is or is not her granddaughter." And the mystery continues.

Identified by Mother.
The officials of the hospital are certain that the child now in the possession of Mrs. Engleman is her own.  There can be no question about this they say.

To confuse matters further, a woman investigator of the Department of Health and Charities has reported to her chief, Dr. Joseph S. Neff, that the body of the exhumed child when taken from its casket at the Municipal Hospital, was identified by Mrs. Kaufman and her mother-in-law, but that Mr. Kaufman declared it was not his child and persisted in the claim.  As a result, the department is under the impression that the mix-up has been practically solved, and all that remains to be done to straighten matters is to induce Kaufman into believing that it was his child that was buried by Mrs. Engleman on January 18.

Dr. Neff hurried to the Municipal Hospital following the receipt of his investigator's report.  There he told reporters that the identity of the body had been established as the Kaufman girl beyond doubt.

"They admitted the child was theirs," Dr. Neff said, "and agreed to have the remains re-interred as their daughter. While the body was decomposed to a certain degree yet identification was made possible by marks with which the Kaufmans are familiar.  Several attaches of the hospital heard the Kaufmans admit that the child is theirs."

What the outcome of the controversy will be no one knows yet.  Rumors of a damage suit against the health authorities have become current, although Kaufman would not intimate that he intends bringing the matter into court.

"The body we saw yesterday is not our child and that's certain and final," said Kaufman.  "We will not assume the responsibility and expense of burying the remains that were uncovered for us at the hospital.

"Moreover," he continued, "we intend to have the health official search for Beatrice until she is either returned to us or proven to have died.  In the last event we demand that her body be turned over to us."

Mrs. Roberts, investigator for Dr. Neff, declared that the description the Kaufmans gave of their child before the disinterment, tallies with that of the corpse taken from its grave.

"Mr and Mrs. Kaufman told me that Beatrice had arched eyebrows, small ears, flat against the head, and a rounded nose," said Mrs. Roberts.  "So had the child they saw in the hospital.  The body was well preserved.  Every feature stood out clearly.  Mrs. Kaufman and her mother-in-law first admitted that the corpse was their child."

An attempt to shunt to a former nurse at the hospital the responsibility for the mix-up in identities which gave to Mrs. Engleman a child that did not belong to her and to the Kaufmans the girl who was in reality the supposed dead Engleman girl, has been made by the officials of the institution.

Put Blame on Charts.
The hospital management asserted that the mistake was due to the confusing of two charts.  The report of the hospital official mentioned the name of Miss Edna Morrison, who left the hospital several months ago.  The report told of the congested condition, at the hospital and stated that for a time Beatrice Kaufman and Mollie Engleman occupied the same bed in ward "B," devoted to the treatment of scarlet fever.

Later, the report states, Beatrice was removed to the "mixed" contagion ward because of the discovery that she had developed symptoms of diptheria.  It was state dthat the hospital charts were on the window sill near the bed and that the nurse in taking Beatrice to the "mixed" contagion ward took along with her the chart belonging to Mollie Engleman.

Miss Morrison vigorously objected to the attempt to impute the blame for the complications over the identies upon her.  She made her denial to Dr. Neff, showing that the care of neither the Engleman child nor the Kaufman child devolved upon her while she was a nurse at the hospital.  As a result of her protest, Dr. Neff has shifted the responsibility to "some one in the receiving ward" of the institution.

New System Adopted.
To preclude the possibility of a recurrence of errors like the one resulting from the mistake over the identities of the Engleman and the Kaufman children, a new system of keeping tabs on the names of the patients at the hospital will be inaugurated by the department of health and charities.

The new method calls for the fastening of adhesive plaster stamped with the name of the patients upon the right arm of every person under treatment at the hospital.


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