Friday, June 06, 2008

Ripped from the headlines

An old mystery landed on my desk yesterday, in a letter from a patron down the valley. In November of 1942, 47 patients at the Oregon State Hospital fell ill and died after eating eggs; another 400 were sickened. A news article dated Nov. 19 was included with the letter (and is included here). A quick check of the Oregonian index available from the University of Oregon sketches a gruesome tale, with headlines such as:
  • Poison deaths still mystery. Officers still pursuing all clues in case
  • Manslaughter, accessory charge filed against 2 cooks in Asylum poisoning
  • Jury frees 2 in poisoning
  • Senate refuses to blame Board
Two faculty members from the University of Oregon Medical School, Frank Menne and Joseph Beeman, were both involved in investigating the case, and although their biographical files do not contain any shocking insider information, Beeman did subsequently write an article on the poisoning for the Journal of the American Medical Association (121 (Mar. 13, 1943), 826-27).

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