The Accidental Poisoning of Miss Nierhaus

Accidental poisonings seemed to take place often a century ago. One such incident involved the poisoning of Miss Teresa Nierhaus at the hands of her friend in August 1911.

The Baltimore Sun reported that the 22-year-old woman, who was living on West Lexington Street in Baltimore, thought she was taking a dose of paregoric, which the Merriam Webster website defines as a “camphorated tincture of opium used especially to relieve pain.” Instead, she ingested carbolic acid and suffered burns on her lips and in her mouth.

“Miss Nierhaus had been out walking with a friend, Miss Ella Ahlers, 301 North Fremont avenue, when seized with an attack of cramps,” according to the Sun article. “She went to the home of her friend, who, in the excitement, gave her the acid for paregoric.”

The paper reported that Nierhaus’ condition wasn’t “regarded [as] dangerous, for the acid was diluted with water.”

Source: Baltimore Sun, August 21, 1911

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