Greene County, Arkansas

 July 20, 1906


Dr. A. L. Lamb, the well known Lorado physician, was in the city today and related to the Soliphone what is perhaps the most remarkable case of surgery on record.

Mrs. Tompkins, the mother of Joseph Tompkins, residing near Lorado, died Wednesday morning at 3 o'clock from the effect of nails driven into her brain by her own hands with suicidal intent.

Mrs. Tompkins was seventy years of age, was blind and partially deaf and was of unsound mind. At one time she was an inmate of the County Hospital, and attempted suicide there by cutting her throat with a case knife. The incision on the throat was a long one and penetrated the windpipe, but she survived that injury. She has frequently expressed a desire to get out of the world and has often said that she would find some way to end her life by her own hands.

On account of these threats the family have kept close watch on her. Recently she was caught with a horse shoe nail and a file. She was sharpening the nail and on the file and those watching her saw her hide the nail in her bed clothing. This nail was placed beyond her reach.

Sunday and Monday she was in an unusual rage and her lamentations attracted the attention of the neighbors who found that her hair was bloody. Her head was bathed and the discovery was made that the heads of two nails were protruding just above the scalp.

Dr. Lamb was hastily summoned and he and his son, Dr. B. C. Lamb, who is a student in the Memphis Hospital Medical College, extracted the nails from the skull. One was a ten penny and the other a six penny and both were driven up to the head into the woman's skull and both penetrated the brain. It was on Monday night at 9 o'clock when the nails were removed and the patient lived until Wednesday morning at 4 o'clock. She was on her feet and walking the floor much of her time while suffering agony from self inflicted injury.

Wednesday forenoon ESQ. L. T. Dennis empanelled a jury to inquire into the cause of the death. The following served on the jury C. H. D. Blackwood, J. J. Manley, T. J. Armsted, E. M. Beck, J. M Drafton, L. G. Adams, D. H. Boyers, L. H. Boyers and J. T. Adams.

Dr. Lamb was before the jury explained in detail how the nails were driven into the skull and into the brain. In fact he had to make an abrasion in the skin to get to the head of the nails with his instrument so he could remove them. In fact he had to make an incision in the skin to get to the head of the nails with his instrument so he could remove them. The jury were puzzled over the case and went and viewed the body and to test the case as explained by the doctor, they inserted the nails into the places in the skin from which they had been withdrawn. The holes being already there from which the nails had been pulled. The jury found that the deceased came to her death by nails being driven into her brain by her own hands.

Perhaps no other suicide was ever accomplished in this way and it is perhaps the first case on record where a victim has lived fully sixty hours with two nails penetrating the brain.         Transcribed By: Sandy Hardin

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