Interview 051 1
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Interview 051-1

Interviewed: Dr. David Ehrenfeld

Interviewer: Agent ███████

Foreword: Dr. Ehrenfeld was the attending physician at the death of Martha R███, ███████████ museum, 02 January 1942. This interview was conducted off-site as Dr. Ehrenfeld was a resident of ███ █████ nursing facility; at the time of interview he was 95 years old and physically infirm, though retaining most of his mental faculties. A class "A" amnestic was administered after the interview.

<Begin Log, October ██ 20██>

Interviewer: Thank you for seeing me, doctor.

Dr. Ehrenfeld: You are welcome. I have outlived most people who would care to hear such stories. Then again, they surely would have thought I was telling lies, or slipping into dementia. Now, you may think the same, but at my age, I do not care [thin laughter].

Interviewer: Can you tell me what you remember of the events of January second, 1942?

Dr. Ehrenfeld: It was…an ugly day. Cold and ugly. ██████ can be a wonderful city sometimes, but winter is a bad season. It was late in the evening when my housekeeper told me I had been called. I was tired, but… a birth is always a wonderful experience. I thought it would cheer me. [coughing; sound of the doctor sipping liquid]

I had a nurse with me, but the girl never came back to my office after that night.

Fifteen minutes, perhaps, for the cab to reach the museum from my house? I'm not certain, but I think so. The doorman was waiting for me. He led me to the room where they had poor Mrs. R███ laid out on a low table covered with…some canvas groundcloths, I think; to make her more comfortable.

Interviewer: What was her condition when you arrived?

Dr. Ehrenfeld: Thinking back now I should have realized…it was very bad. But I was young and had not much experience. She was quiet and only grunted with each contraction; she did not respond when I checked her vital signs and spoke to her. She did not even look at me. There was quite a bit of blood; a gush of it covered my hands as I reached down to begin helping her with the birth. The floor was slick with it underneath her. And the baby had not crowned yet; she was dilated well and the contractions were quite close together, and this made me fear she may be having a breech birth. I showed a calm face, though. I did not want to panic my nurse, or the researcher Doctor Merrill, who was nearby… a dignified older man. I believe I wanted to impress him.

[A pause, breathing sounds, more sipping]

Interviewer: And then, doctor?

Dr. Ehrenfeld: I was concerned because of all the blood, that her life was in danger. I told her to push, and she was pushing…and my nurse helped her, putting downward pressure on the abdomen, as I attempted to manually aid the infant's emergence. I will spare you the details of a breech-birth procedure; it can be found in any obstetrics manual of the time.

I probed blindly and felt… I thought it was a coil of the umbilicus, perhaps tangled around the baby's neck. I almost withdrew, thinking that an episiotomy would be required, but she tore before I could proceed. There was more blood, and the baby began to emerge into my hands.

[a pause]

I had never seen such a thing. You are a researcher; do you know much of the common cephalic birth defects? This was uncommon. I thought at first that the infant must be stillborn. Its flesh was gray – not the vernix-covered gray of a normal birth, but lifeless and degraded. The smell of decay…

I recoiled, and the poor mother screamed on her last push, and the infant was delivered into my arms, with a great rush of hemorrhage. The deformity… unspeakable. The thoracic cavity was completely open, the limbs….

Interviewer: But it wasn't a stillbirth.

Dr. Ehrenfeld: It looked at me. I heard the nurse above me, beginning resuscitation attempts… then heard her gasp and falter as she saw what I held. Gagging as the smell filled the room. I tried to drop the creature, but it clung to my hands, I felt my skin begin to blister and crack.

Strange how clearly I can remember it. At my age, sometimes I cannot even remember what I had for dinner. The infant was almost double the length of a normal, viable fetus at eight months. Its lower body… segmented…

[coughing, almost choking; a pause of two minutes while the interviewer assists Dr. Ehrenfeld with a nearby oxygen mask.]

Interviewer: What did you do then?

Dr. Ehrenfeld: It began to laugh…and I killed it. [a pause] I broke its neck while it looked at me.

Interviewer: Were there ever any questions or consequences?

Dr. Ehrenfeld: [thin laughter] In 1942, with the country at war, and two respected professional men to give their testimony? No. The museum building had a furnace; I disposed of the infant's body myself. We claimed some more normal defect had taken the lives of mother and child. The husband was a drunkard and cared for nothing but her life-insurance policy. I believe he was drafted shortly thereafter, and died somewhere in France. And I left my practice almost immediately. I never delivered another child.

<End Log>

Closing Statement: Dr. Ehrenfeld expired four months later of pneumonia.

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