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A REMINISCENCE OF OLD DUNEDIN.

Mr E. T. Gillon sends to the Wellington 'Post' this very readable letter i Perhaps the severest and raob't fttikl outbreak of typhoid fever that has ever Viatted any part • "this colony was tile on* which occurred in Imnedin during tho tally months of 1862. its appearance fairly puzzled the medical profession, and its fatality carried terror into eveiy household. Deaths became cf daily occurrence, and the number of caseß which terminated fatally was appalling. There were nnny terribly sad cases, I leraember especial y the case of *wo brothers belonging to the then rare class of 'globe-trotters—young English gentlemen making m> tour of the colonies. They were staying at Park House, e*ught the fever, and died within a day or two of each other. The disease was not tbea generally known R'l typhoid. It was termed "low" fever, "gastric" fever, and' "colonial" fever, tire latter being *h«i favorite and most common name. The WBdical profession speedily became divided into two "schools" in regard to their nvctbod of treatment. The one was led by DV Hulme, the Provincial Surgeon, whos* treatment was to starve the fever, keeping the patient down as low as possible. The other side, led by Dr Hunter, a medical man of some eminence recently arrived from Melbourne, went in for supporting the patient's strength by nouiishment ami stimulants* Feeling rati very high between the two "schools," and each used to insinuate, when a rival's caso terminated fatally, that something akin to murder had been done. When the outbreak was over and notes came to be compared I believe that honors were easy between the two modes of treatment. About the same proportion hi cases had terminated fatally on each side, but I have frequently heard it'asaerted stnee that a larger bumber of the "low" treatment patients died from tho after eHeots than was the case amongst those who recovered under the " These after effects formed omj of the most curious features of the disease. Patients recovered from th« fever, and became apparently btroeg and well, but in a few weeks or months began literally to fade away, and sank into an early grave without any apparent reason, and not suffering from any recognised disease. I lost a dear sister about fourteen years of age, and a little brother of flbowt three in this way. My own escape from a fatal result of the fever, in a direct rhanner, was a worderfnlly narrow one. I was then a importer on the staff of th' 6 'Otago Daily 'times,'the first daily paper in NttW Zealand, aid then only a few months old. Mr Vogel was the editor, and Mr KofcinMh (the present Resident Magistrate of thin city) the sub-editor. I bad felt unwell far several days, but had no idea' of fever, Oa« night (it was in February) I wis reading some proofs with poor Alec Kcid, my colleague on the staff, when about 1 a.m. I found the lines and letters dinning before my eyes, and I said to Alec that my head was so bad I must go home. With characteristic rood nature he said he Would look after my proofs as well as his own, and I went home to Moray place, where my farui'y lived. In the morning when they canvc to call me in time to go down to the Resident Magistrate's Court I was in a state xft high fever, and quite "Jtelirious. With brief intervals I remained in this condition for some three or four weeks. One night Dr Hulme, who was our medical attendant, told my mother that he could do no more for me, aad that I could not live till morning. Shortly after midnight, however, I became conscious, rallied, and the fever left me. When Dx H-cdvae t>3Tt>c to see my slatex ar>A brother next morning he was astonished to see the blinds ap. He was an exceedingly kiodhearted man, but affected the brusque manner of Abernethy. When he came in, his first words ■were " Isn't he dead ?" I distinctly heard what ■was being said. My mother explained that I was cool and cbnscious, and very far from being dead. He said "Humph! then he ought to be"—and canre into my room. Some flowers had been placed there, and the first thing he did was to open the window and throw them out. Then he came over to nw, and after a pause, said: " You know, I Baid you were going to die, and you ought to have died; but now you're getting better." In the weakest possible voice I assured "Him I had no intention of dying, and hinted that Z was hungry. This only elicited a remark that I should bo lucky if I got anything to eat for the next six months. It was not so long as that before I got my first chop, and its enjoyment was a good deal increased, as just before I jfljt it I received my appointment as Clerk to the Bench at Tokomairiro, signed by the Colonial Treasurer (Mr Reader Wood), and sent to me by the newly-appointed Resident Magistrate (Mr Edward Musgrave). I had been warned that I must not for a long time go back to newspaper work, and this appiintment to a well paid and almost sinecure office (there was only a fortnightly Court) in a district in which I had resided from boyhood, gave me every opportunity for recruiting my health. When I was able to revisit the ' Otago Daily Times' Office I found installed there as chief reporter the late Mr Kb. Fox. Alec Reid had meanwhile been sent to the hulks; that is; he bad taken up his abode on a hulk at Port Chalmers, to act as shipping reporter for the 'Times.' Both have now gone to that bourne from whence no reporter has ever yet managed to send back "copy," _^_^__^^___

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https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/ESD18890907.2.32

Bibliographic details

A REMINISCENCE OF OLD DUNEDIN., Issue 8006, 7 September 1889

Word Count
985

A REMINISCENCE OF OLD DUNEDIN. Issue 8006, 7 September 1889

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