William A. Shuck Jr. - Physician

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William A. Shuck Jr. - Physician

Postby admin » October 31st, 2010, 6:15 pm


WILLIAM A. SHUCK JR. , a witness called on behalf of defendant Gertrude Baniszewski,
being duly sworn by the court, testified as follows:


Q. State your name, sir.

A. William A. Shuck, Jr.

Q. s-h-u-c-k?

A. Yes.

Q. What is your business or occupation?

A. Physician.

Q. Attached where?

A. Marion County General Hospital.

Q. General Hospital?

A. Yes.

Q. How long have you been a doctor?

A. Four years.

Q. You graduated from where?

A. Indiana University Medical School.

Q. When?

A. 1962, June.

Q. This in your first internship, is it?

A. I am a resident physician.

Q. Did you have any internship?

A. Yes, at General Hospital.

Q. Indianapolis?

A. Yes.

Q. When?

A. '62 and '63.

Q. Now, do you know the defendant in this case, Gertrude Baniszewski?

A. Yes, I do.

Q. What was the occasion of you knowing her?

A. I am the jail physician for Marion County. State jail physician for Marion County.

Q. State jail physician for Marion County?

A. Yes.

Q. When did you first receive that assignment?

A. January 1, 1965.

Q. When did you first see her?

A. October 27, 1965.

Q. Where?

A. At the womens section in the City-County Building.

Q. Describe her appearance at that time, Doctor, her physical appearance with reference to her face or anything.

A. She was an anxious person whose personal cleanliness was in a state of neglect. She had many sores over her face and extremities.

Q. You mean hands and feet?

A. That is right, and arms and face, and was complaining of rather severe problems with her breathing.

Q. Her breathing?

A. Yes.

Q. Did you make an examination of her at that time?

A. Yes, I did.

Q. Where was that at?

A. At the same place.

Q. Was that here in this building or at the hospital?

A. No, no, the womens prison.

Q. Here in this building?

A. Yes.

Q. You say she had sores?

A. Eczemetoid type on her legs and on her face.

Q. You mean what?

A. Sores.

Q. All over her face?

A. They were spotty.

Q. Her neck also?

A. I don't recall.

MR. NEW: We object. He is leading the witness.

THE COURT: Overruled as to that question.

Q. And did she suffer from any other disability that you know of, Doctor?

A. Not that I recall.

Q. Do you recall my talking to you about five minutes ago out in the hall?

A. Yes.

Q. Did you, at that time, describe an asthmatic condition?

A. I just mentioned she had trouble breathing.

Q. Did she have trouble breathing?

A. Yes, she did.

Q. In what respect?

A. She appeared to be having a problem with chronic bronchitis with appearance of acute asthma attacks.

Q. What do you mean chronic bronchitis?

A. Chronic inflammation of the bronchial tree.

Q. Was there any evidence of that?

A. By physical examination, yes.

Q. By what?

A. Wheezing over both lung fields.

Q. What about acute asthma?

A. By history, yes.

Q. She gave you a history?

A. She gave me a history very suggestive of acute asthmatic attacks.

Q. Can you describe her appearance with reference to her weight, her appearance, whether she was thin or fat?

A. She was much thinner than she is now.

Q. Much thinner. Have you any idea what she weighed?

A. I'd say ten to fifteen pounds less than she does now.

Q. Ten or fifteen pounds less than she does now?

A. Yes.

Q. Did you give her a complete physical examination, Doctor?

A. No, I did not.

Q. When we discussed - there in the hall - something with reference to her thinness and weight and the like - did you make any examination as to any malnutrition?

A. Other than a physical examination of the patient, I did not.

Q. Now, you say she was an anxious person. What do you mean by that?

A. She was very nervous and excitable.

Q. How long did you examine her the first time?

A. I don't recall exactly. I expect fifteen or twenty minutes.

Q. Did she appear to be a normal person on October 27, 1965?

A. She was ill from the things that have already been mentioned.

Q. Would you say that, basing you answer on her present condition October 27, 1965, that she had the same manifestation and the same condition on October 26, 1965?

MR. NEW: We object.

THE COURT: Sustained.

Q. Would you say that that condition came on immediately October 27, 1965 or was that condition existing sometime?

A. I believe that the condition had existed for sometime.

Q. Have you any idea how long?

A. No.

Q. Would you say a week or two weeks or three weeks?

A. It could.

Q. Longer?

A. It is possible.

Q. Did she give you any history of any ailment, discuss her condition with you?

A. Nothing more than what has been mentioned.

Q. What has been mentioned?

A. The breathing problem and the skin eruption.

Q. Did she talk to you about that?

A. Yes.

Q. What did she say?

A. Well, I don't recall what she said.

Q. Did you make notes at that time?

A. As to her condition, yes.

Q. Have you got those notes with you?

A. I have notes on the medication she was placed on.

Q. I see. What medication was she placed on?

A. She was placed on expectorants.

Q. Expectorants. What does that mean?

A. To help you expectorate.

Q. In other words, cough up phlegm?

A. Yes.

Q. What did you give her?

A. Saturated Potassium Iodide.

Q. What, in plain words, do that do for a person in that condition?

A. Loosens the bronchial secretion and enables a person to better expectorate.

Q. Would that condition she had cause a nausea, gagging, vomiting and all that?

A. Yes, it could.

Q. Was her condition such you gave her this Potassium Iodide?

A. Yes.

Q. What else did you give her?

A. She also received an antihistaminic to alleviate the itching of the sores she had. It is taken orally by pill form.

Q. Did you give her anything else?

A. Yes, she received ammosek, which is a combination of drugs to help expectorate and relieve the bronchial spasms.

Q. Did you give her anything for her nerves?

A. No, I did not.

Q. Could you tell whether or not she was under the influence of drugs at that time?

A. I was not aware at the time.

Q. Did you give her anything else, Doctor?

A. This was all the first day.

Q. When did you see her again, if you did?

A. The next time was on the 11th of November, 1965.

Q. The 11th of November. How did she appear at that time?

A. She was much improved as far as her skin lesions were concerned. They were practically healed up. She was more comfortable but still troubled with the lung congestion and she was - it was very suggestive of a mild case of pneumonitis at that time.

Q. What is that?

A. Inflammation of the lungs. She was placed on antibiotics at that time.

Q. You say the skin condition had cleared up a little bit?

A. Yes.

Q. On about two weeks prior to that you had given her some stuff to apply?

A. Yes.

Q. Was there still some evidence of skin infection on November 11th?

A. Not at time that I am aware of, not that I recall.

Q. Then, Doctor, basing your answer on this treatment you gave her, and your observing her November 11, would you say the skin condition existed prior to October 27th?

A. There is no way of telling that.

Q. The sores on her face - were they small sores or large or how were they?

A. They varied in size from the size of a dime to the size of a nickel. Some were smaller.

Q. What about her eyes, Doctor, were they bloodshot - closed?

A. I don't recall.

Q. Was her face swollen?

A. She had a little swelling around her eyes, as I recall.

Q. Both eyes?

A. Yes.

Q. How about her cheeks, were they swollen?

A. I don't recall.

Q. How was she dressed at the time you first saw her, in jail garb?

A. I suppose. I am not sure.

Q. When did you next see her, Doctor, after November 11, if you did?

A. December 12.

Q. What did you do at that time?

A. I suggested continuing her on some medication she had been placed on at General Hospital.

Q. She had been placed on some at General Hospital?

A. Yes.

Q. What?

A. Thorazine.

Q. Thorazine?

A. Yes.

Q. What does that do for a person in her condition?

A. Relieves anxiety.

Q. It is a drug then?

A. Yes, it is.

Q. When had she been out to the City Hospital, if you know?

A. No, I don't.

Q. Had she been out there?

A. Yes, she had.

Q. What does Thorazine do? Does it put you to sleep, alleviate pain, what does it do?

A. It is just a drug used in patients who are quite anxious and it is sometimes used on psychotic patients.

Q. Psychotic patients?

A. Yes.

Q. How long did you see her December 12?

A. I suppose five or ten minutes.

Q. Where - here at the City-County Building?

A. Yes.

Q. What was her condition at that time with reference to her nerves and anxiety?

A. Much better.

Q. And did she express any anxiety about herself?

A. None other than the continual fear of her lung condition.

Q. Was that justified by her condition, do you think?

A. I think so.

Q. What was her lung condition December 12?

A. The same as it had been, one of the chronic bronchitis, periods of anxiety precipitating asthmatic attacks.

Q. Did she still have infection in her lung on December 12?

A. No.

Q. Did she express anxiety about her children?

A. Not that I recall.

Q. Did you tell me she insisted the children see you or something of that kind?

MR. NEW: We object.

THE COURT: Sustained.

Q. To refresh your recollection, Doctor, did she have a conversation with you concerning her children?

MR. NEW: We object. He said - he did not say he needed his recollection refreshed.

THE COURT: Sustained.

Q. Was there a conversation with the defendant concerning anyone else besides herself?

A. Yes.

Q. When and where was that?

A. The initial day, the first time I saw her, October 27.

Q. What was the conversation?

A. She wanted me to check both of her daughters.

Q. Do you know their names?

A. Paula and - I forget the other girl's name.

Q. Where was the other girl?

A. She was at the City-County Building.

Q. Stephanie?

A. Yes, Stephanie.

Q. Did you check both of them?

A. Yes, I did.

Q. Did you ever have further conversation with the defendant concerning her daughters?

A. I am sure I did. I don't have specific notes as to when or where.

Q. How many times, if you know of your own knowledge, had the defendant been to the City Hospital for treatment or for psychotic drugs prior to December 12, 1965?

A. As far as I know, she was out there one time for admission - I think she was taken to the receiving ward at least one time for acute asthmatic attacks.

Q. The General Hospital record would show that, would it?

A. Yes.

Q. Now, were there any other further times you saw the defendant after December 12?

A. I did not bring notes on each time I have seen her, I have seen her every week.

Q. Every week?

A. Practically.

Q. Starting when?

A. The date of her admission to the womans jail.

Q. October 27. You saw her weekly then till when?

A. Until yesterday.

Q. Till yesterday?

A. Yes.

Q. You saw her every week?

A. Yes.

Q. How much time did you spend with her weekly?

A. Five to ten minutes.

Q. Was there any particular reason you saw this particular defendant every week?

A. At her own request.

Q. Did her condition justify it?

A. Not always.

Q. Did it any specific time?

A. I'd say half the time she really did not need to see a doctor when she came out to talk to me.

Q. When she came out to talk to you?

A. Right.

Q. Would they bring her to the hospital?

A. No, in the examining room in the office.

Q. How do you account for that? Is there any explanation for that, Doctor?

A. None other than loneliness, wanting to talk to somebody.

Q. Is there any evidence of her being a hypochondriac?

A. She had just reason to be worried about herself, but she was doing well on medication.

Q. You examined her yesterday?

A. Yes.

Q. That would be - what was yesterday?

A. The 10th.

Q. And what was her lung condition at that time?

A. I did not check her lungs yesterday.

Q. What did you do yesterday when you examined her, did you examine her?

A. I talked to the patient concerning the problem she was having.

Q. What problem was she having?

A. She was complaining of urinary tract infection.

Q. Anything else?

A. That was all at the time.

Q. Doctor, is it possible that the condition that you described here was feigned and not real or did they actually exist?

A. They actually existed.

Q. No question about that?

A. Not in my mind.

Q. You have no interest in the outcome of this trial, do you?

A. No.

Q. How long did she have sores on her face, Doctor, after October 27?

A. As I recall, they cleared within a two week period.

Q. Is it safe to assume then, if it took two weeks to clear them, they were existent on the face several weeks prior to October 27th?

A. No.

Q. It is not?

A. No.

Q. Do you think they came on suddenly on the 26th?

A. I do not know.

Q. Was there any depth to the sores or were the superficial?

A. They were superficial.

Q. They were not self inflicted?

A. They were complicated by her scratching them.

Q. Initially they were not self inflicted?

A. I don't know.

Q. Well, what kind of sores were they?

A. They were eczematoid type lesions, weeping, with little pustules from secondary infection.

Q. A skin disease, in plain words?

A. Yes.

Q. It was not self inflicted, the initial lesions, were they?

A. They could be.

Q. Could be?

A. Yes.

Q. Would they cause any pain, in your opinion?

A. The complaint she had was itching.

Q. Now, this infection of the lung you described on November 11, could that have been painful, in your opinion?

A. Yes.

Q. And could this chronic bronchitis and acute asthmatic have been painful?

A. There is some discomfort associated with it. Usually the complaint is not pain, however.

MR. ERBECKER: Nothing further.

THE COURT: The State may cross examine.


Q. Doctor, you first saw Mrs. Baniszewski October 27th?

A. Yes.

Q. At that time, did she demonstrate any symptoms to you she was of unsound mind?

A. She was an extremely anxious person. She was in contact, as far as to time, place and person.

Q. She was completely orientated at that time?

A. Yes.

Q. What time of day on October 27, did you see her?

A. Late in the afternoon, after 3:00 o'clock. I don't recall the exact time.

Q. You found no evidence at that time she was delusional?

A. No, she was not.

Q. She responded to your questions coherently?

A. Yes.

Q. Were her answers cohesive?

A. Yes.

Q. Oriented as to time, place and person?

A. Yes, she was.

Q. Do you have an opinion at this time whether she was sane or insane October 27th?

A. I have no opinion.

Q. You have no opinion?

A. Right.

Q. You saw nothing that indicated she was insane?

MR. ERBECKER: We object.

THE COURT: Overruled. This is cross examination.

Q. You saw nothing to indicate to you she was insane. Is that correct?

A. Right.

Q. During the entire time you have seen her, up to yesterday, was there any manifestations in Gertrude Baniszewski that would indicate to you she was insane?

A. No.

MR. NEW: That is all.

THE COURT: Defendant Paula Marie Baniszewski may examine.


Q. Doctor, in the course of your studies in medical school and prior to that time, I gather you gained an intimate knowledge of chestry?

A. Yes.

Q. You testified in response to a question put to you by Mr. Erbecker that when you treated Mrs. Baniszewski - for part of the treatment you were obliged to require cures for lesions and open sores you found on the face and body?

A. Yes.

Q. Could you have made use of a saline solution if you lacked other drugs or medioation?

A. I think we did recommend she have some saline soaps.

Q. This could have been done without harm to her?

A. Yes.

Q. It could, in fact, have produced a healing effect?

A. Yes.

Q. In the event that you had not had salt in solution and you had applied moderate amounts of salt to an open cut or sore, what would have been the effect of that in terms of damage to the health or body of the patient?

A. Concentrated salt would probably create an extreme inflammation, I expect.

Q. It would be painful?

A. I think so.

Q. Would it be injurious to the health or ultimately reduce infection?

A. I don't think it would reduce infection as such. I think it would create a tremendous inflammatory. I am speaking from supposition. I never treated a patient this way, never seen it.

Q. Salt, in solution, would have an antiseptic curative?

A. Not antiseptic, just mechanical cleansing.

Q. But it would have some curative power over such cut or wound?

A. No, not curative power per se. It would be mechanical cleansing so the body could clean up it's own infection.

Q. It would be mechanical?

A. Right.

Q. It would not create permanent injury as an effect?

A. I don't think so.

MR. RICE: That is all.

MR. BOWMAN: No questions.

THE COURT: Defendant Richard Hobbs.


Q. Doctor, you are assigned to General Hospital?

A. Yes.

Q. Did you ever treat Ricky Hobbs for diabetic treatment or diabetic shock?

A. No.

MR. NEDEFF: No other questions.


Q. You said you had no opinion on October 27, 1965 with reference to the sanity or insanity of Mrs. Gertrude Baniszewski?

A. That is right.

Q. Was she a normal person on that date?

A. No, she was sick.

Q. She was sick?

A. Yes.

Q. Mentally or physically sick?

A. Physically sick and a very anxious woman.

Q. Would you say mentally sick too?

A. I did not think she was psychotic.

Q. You did not think she was psychotic?

A. No. I saw nothing to indicate she was psychotic.

Q. Did you - did I understand you to say she was given Thorazine, which is a medication for psychotics, did you say that?

A. Yes, I also said for anxious people too.

Q. You saw nothing to indicate her being sane with these manifestations?

MR. NEW: We object.

THE COURT: Sustained.

Q. Now, when you told Mr. New there was nothing to indicate her being insane, would you say there was anything to indicate her being sane?

MR. NEW: We object.

THE COURT: Sustained.

Q. In your opinion, did she have full possession of her mental and physical faculties, taking into consideration the troubles you indicated she had?

MR. NEW: We object.

THE COURT: Overruled.

A. Would you restate the question?


A. No.

MR. ERBECKER: Nothing further.

THE COURT: Any re-cross?

MR. NEW: We have none.

THE COURT: Anything further?


THE COURT: May this witness leave?


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