COMPLAINT AGAINST DOCTORS.
MEDICAL MEN'S OPINIONS.
At the inquest on the body of the iato Mr A. Mitchell, who expired suddenly at the Christchureh Railway Station on Thursday, one of the witnesses, a brother-in-law of the deceased, complained of the lack of attention he had received from several doctors whom he had rung up for assistance. The witness, Mr Chegwin, asked the Coroner if anything could be done to investigate the position in regard to summoning medical assistance. He had rung up several doctors, but the only answer he got was that they were all out. In one instance, at least, he had reason to believe that such was not the case, as tho answers to his enquiries indicated as much. Mr Mitchell was lying at the station about three-quarters of an hour before medical assistance arrived. He considered the majority of the doctors displayed great callousness in these instances. The Coroner replied that it was not a matter for him tp deal with. If the doctcrs wero said to be out, it would bo difhcult to prove that they were not. He thoug.it it was a matter for the Press. A representative of "The Press" had au inter view with Dr. O'Brien, president of the local M-dical Association, and asked him if he would care co say anything on the matter, for, as it stood, it seemed to be somewhat of a reflection on tho medical profession. Dr. O'Brien said tnat lie was positively certain that tnere was not a medical man in Uiins.uiiurcn wno would be so mnumau ana mercenary as to Hesitate lor an instant in ieapouuiii_; i/u an uigent un for assi_i.aiic_ maue'uy a leopoiisiuie peison. linloitumueiy, noivever, doctors were so oiten caned to aneged urgent tates by irrc&pon.ib.e persons, to find ou arrival tnuc tiide was no one there at ail, or tnat uieir services were declined, sometimes witn scant civility, that tney had become somewhat chary of rusning off vo a call unless they were quite sure that tho facts of the case had been correctly stated. He thougiit, however, that it was quito possible that in the case referred to the complainant had been unlucky in ringing up doctors who were out or possibly engaged with their patients. As an instance of tho difficulty sometimes met with in getting hold of a medical man at a momont's notice, he related a case of his own. It happened to be rather an off day for him, and he had made arrangements to play in an important cricket match. One of his patients wps suddenly taken ill, and the people at-. Dr. OBn'en's house, knowing that it would be difficult to get hold of him, started to ring up other medical men. They rang up eight different doctors, and in each case they were out, and in the end Dr. O Brien bad to be sent for alter all. From this, it would be seen that there was nothing unlikely in Mr Chegwin being unable to get a doctor to attend to his messagein quick time. ■. At, the time in the morning at which the fatality occurred most of the doctors in town would just be getting ready to receive their patients as cussufting hours m the morning were generally from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. It was quite possible that a proportion of those patients needed immediate attention, and. it could hardly be supposed that a doctor on receiving a call from some unknown person—and remembering i ossibly many futile journeys before— would leave all his patients and go off to what, an tho light of his former experience, might very much prove/tobe a false alarm. "Suppose you were a patient of a doctor," sa id Dr. 2,2 fc ? ' u nd w ,\ en you "to con.>ult him, he suddenly dashed off and I kept you waiting, after you had made arrangements to see him" and had quite th_. ipr?'«» ould } u U? The. trouble is tnat very often when atf accident or sudden illness occur*, all sorts of peopte telephone for doctors, and wlfen perhaps two or three arrive, the? either find the patient recovered and vanished, or find some other* molica man there before them, and they have ail their trouble for literally n^thin? fp r rS?* ha T " othin T In the ca S e"£ ferred to, I can only suppose that Mr Chegwin was unlucky enough to find several doctors really out, and not SrT/'T ,y engaged with Sem P to G S an V ductant to fcave P_-r_on Tf EO t0 an ' unknown wr? V S ° me sponsible person rings UD su h " I' LJ r'heroist nor hotel proprietor is responsible for.that-tl.ougir t„e notice a?™ but he is partly assured fchafc j fc e hJ tlTmn'ff 6 '' S T H ' y *»e«»'ng urgently the matter, whereas private nn'riom
orten send an urgent call on the most trifling occasions. When a doctor receives a call from someone he know* such as one of his own patients, ."f he cannot go himself he will send another doctor along at his expense, but possibly, if h 0 is engaged or out, and is sent for by a stranger, the latter will D 3 advised to try and get some other medical man. But the public need not ii'ajnne that tho med'cal profession thinks of etiquette or anything of that kind in tho case oi' street accidentsior anything of that nature. Two other medical men spoken to made remarks on very much the same l.nes, aud neither considered that any doctor would wilfully refuse to co to a natient, if he had reason to believe t'<at the case was a genuine one a-id •Shat he was called by a responsible person. "As a matter* of fact," said one, "it shows that Mr Chegwin was unlucky in his calls on Thursday, because if ho had called ur> Dr. Thomas— the "doctor who eventually did go —first or "all, he could have got him at once as he was di?engaged r'ght up to the time he received tho call."