The miners, members of the United Mine Workers, sent a telegram to President Harry S. Truman asking for help, and a federal judge, Guy K. Bard, was ordered to investigate Shawmut’s finances. At a hearing, Hayes and the miners testified about the appalling sanitation, Biederman wrote, with Hayes’ testimony clearly moving the judge. She spoke of delivering a baby after she fell into a ditch and the sewage splashed on her clothes. Public health professionals had urged women to have their babies in hospitals, “using everything science has taught us about baby care,” Hayes said, but, she added, “we have to mix our formula with sewage and diluted urine.” .”
Judge Bard appointed two new executives to lead Shawmut, ousting Dickson and his top assistant. The new executives rehired Hayes and agreed to fix the sewage problems and pave the roads. By declaring victory, the miners ended their five-month strike.
Hayes became so famous that Woody Guthrie wrote a song, “The Dying Doctor”, about her and her father. The lyrics read in part: “My father told me I had to fight to cure disease / But I can’t cure disease with sewage everywhere.”
Hayes decided to quit her job in 1947 and the miners and their families organized a big farewell picnic. She married Charles Williamson and worked as a civilian physician at Cherry Point Marine Air Base in North Carolina. While her husband was serving in Korea, she moved to Brockway, Pennsylvania, and helped run a medical practice there. After her marriage to Williamson ended in divorce, she married LeRoy Voris, an agricultural researcher, in 1957. They lived in Washington and eventually retired to Pine Knoll Shores, NC
Hayes died of a stroke on June 26, 1984 in New Bern, NC. She was 72.
During the strike of 1945, when “Dr. Betty” was a national sensation, wrote The Philadelphia Record: “Dr. Hayes – ‘Get angry and start fighting’ — reminds us that many, many more Americans should follow her lead.”