The Death of Doc Barker
January 1939

JANUARY 14, 1939.

Memorandum to the Warden:

Re: Barker, Arthur, 268-AZ

This will inform you that above captioned Inmate, who came to the Hospital yesterday morning with injuries mentioned in a previous memorandum, showed a gradual loss of strength during the day and died at 5:40 P.M. last night.

When first brought in he was greatly confused but partly conscious and complained of pain in the left leg which was broken, and of being cold. Later on during the morning he was restless in bed and would rally to look around him but made no statement or gave any indication that he understood the situation more than to realize at times his own precarious physical condition. Everything possible was done to improve his condition and Dr. E.M. Townsend of the U.S. Marine Hospital was called in consultation. During the afternoon he became more restless and confused and was constantly rolling about in bed. His circulation became weaker more rapidly during the afternoon and his breathing more labored and it was realized that he probably would not survive the night. A Spinal Puncture revealed a large amount of blood in the Spinal Fluid showing that there was bleeding into the cranial cavity resulting from a skull fracture. His condition showed little change after 3:00 P.M. until 5:30 P.M. when he became rapidly worse and in spite of stimulants died at 5:40 P.M.

Cause of death: Fracture of Skull.


Romney M. Ritchey, Surgeon (R)
Chief Medical Officer

Return to Doc on the Rock
Return to Alcatraz: The Warden Johnston Years