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INQUEST., Issue 10438, 6 October 1897
An inquest was held at the police station yesterday afternoon before the coroner and a jury of "six, of whom Mr J. H. Brown w,ib chosen foreman, on the body of a male infant found on Sunday last. Dr Ogston stated that at the request of the coroner he made a post mortem examination of the body, which was that of a well-developed and well-nourished infant. The child must have lived an hour or two. There wero no marks of violence about the body cither internally or externally. 'Che conclusions he came to were that the child's birth had been retarded: that it had breathed, probably only I'cubly, after birth ; that it had not cried : that its death was due to exposure and perhaps to it) being left in a twisted position, so that it had not space to breathe properly; and, further, that t,hcchild had been born a little before its full time, though not sufficiently so to prevent it 3 continuing to live had it been properly attended to. The child had undoubtedly lived, and the ciuse of death was either exposure or suffocation. When witness saw the body on Monday afternoon it had probably not been born more than thirty-six hours.
Nellie Marsden, living in Arthur street, stated that at about half-past nine on Sunday morning she was going along Serpentine avenue from Arthur street, when she saw u child's head projecting from a parcel. She did not open the parcel, but went on her way to a private hospital close by and told one of the nur>cs there to go down and see what was in the parcel. The nurse went to the place where the parcel wa« and then telephoned to the police Chief- : etcctive O'Biien stated that at about a quarter past ten on Sunday morning the last witness pointed out a parcel to bim in Maitlaud street at the ?igzag leading into Serpentine avenue. The parcel was lying among some long giass and scrub, and close to the e'ge of the cutting made to form the pathway. On opening the parcel he found that it contained a portion of the KvENiNTr Star newspaper of the 25'h of last month, a piece of brown paper, a piece of piuk-and-white flannelette, and the dead body of a male infant child. The body was cold and somewhat stiff at the time. It was dressed iu a small white flannelette gown. There were some stains of blood about the cheek and mouth. The body was lying face downwards, and witness observed"at the time that the face was turned slightly towards the left shoulder. The parcel was tied with a piece of cord. Witness had since been making inquiries with a view of finding out by whom the body was placed there, but so far he"had not been able to ascertain. He was still prosecuting inquiries. Constable Aldridge gave evidence. The Coroner, in addressing the jury, said: From the doctor's evidence it is shown that the child was born alive, but there is no evidence to show how the child came to be placed where it was found. The doctor has told vou what his opinion is as '■ o the cause of
death The circumstances are certainly peculiar. If you think there is sufficient for you to come to any definite decision as to what tho cause of death has been, of course it is your duty to find a verdict accordingly. But, if not. there will be sufficient for you to say it wa3 found dead—that is, to bring in an open verdict on the subject, The jury returned a verdict of " Found dead, and that death wa3 brought about by exposure and want of attention " An inquest was held at the hospital yesterday afternoon on the body of Dr.n&ld M'Lcod, who died on Monday morning while under chloroform preparatory to undergoing an operation. Hugh M'Leod, shepherd, of Hampden, slid dec;assdwashsbrother,and waR borninSutherlandeiiire; Scotland. He was unmarried. Deceased came to the hospital about July ?8. About fourteen year? ego he was hurt by a fall from a horao, by which his head was injured. '• iuce then he had been subject to fits. The fits used to last about ten minute 3, and while he was under them he would get very black in the face.
Dr Brown depose 1 that he first faw deceased on July 27 at his (witness's) house. He described himself aa a shepterd, and was thirty-nine years of age. He Faid that eight yeats previously he was riding at a fence and was thrrwo, being struck on the head and rendered unconscious. He was in the W.'sipukerau Hospital fcr two weeks and left of his own accord, contrary to the advice of the medical officer. Three months after leaving the hospital he became <icaf in the right ear, bled at the nose, and lost the sense of smell. Th r ce or four years after what he described as a msty reeling came over him, and r'u/m; these years he went about hi* ■work, but could not depend on keeping his balance. He dared not cross a creek on a plank, for instance. Afterwards he took fits twice or thrice daily, hut subsequently they did not become so frequent. They commenced in the right arm. "Witness examined him and found on the top of his head the mark of the injury he sustained when thrown from his horse. There was a depression of t,h? hnnr; at the seat of injury. Witness thought it was a case where a surgical operation wa« likely to benefit him, but considered it advisable to keep him uuder observation for some time previous to the operation. Ho sent him to the under the care of his colleague, Dr Macrheisjn. He was a Ions: tiins in the hosp : tal before anyone in the institution saw !;im in a fit. Aft'r he was observed in a fit a consultation of the medicaj staff of the hospital was held on the rase, and it x.'as decided to operate with a view of raising the depressed fractured skull. The operation was to havu token place on Monday morning, at-d for that purpose lie wai- ch'.oro-fo-med by Dr Stenhouse, house surgeoii. As the cbolorot'oim was being administered witness was explaining to the students the nature of the man's disease and the object of the operation. "While he was speaking he heard M'Leod making loud inarticulate noises. His back was turned to him, and all of a sudden the noise stopped. Witness wheeled rouud and said: "What's the matter?" Dr Stenhouse said: "Do artificial respiration." The appearance of the man was this: His body was rigid, teeth clenched. In 3 eyes wide open, and his faco very dark. Witness saw that he was in the first stage of an epileptic convulsion. Artificial respiration was resorted to, and it was expected when the first stage pa«-:ed off that he would soon come to. Artificial respiration was kept up for quite an hour by witness, Dr Anderson, the house surgeon, and Dr Barnett Other means were used to revive the patient, a battery w« used to stimulate the hfart, ether was injected under the skin two or three times by Dr Stenhouse, and other methods were adopted, but all to no avail. They decided eventually the man was dead. The cause of death was, he thought, an epileptic convulsion. It was extremely probable that the er.eiierr ent engendei e 1 by the preparations for the operation helped to bring on the fit. The fit had not passed beyond the stage of muscular rigidity when respiration ceased, therefore he did not think the chloroform would intensify the patient's condition very much. Dr Macpherson gave evidence agreeing with Dr Brown's description of the case. He wished to add that although the patient had only two fits during his stay in the hospital he was far from well. He suffered from headache, noisps in the ear, and momentary attacks of forgetMness—forgetting where he was. Death, he thought, was due to an epileptic fit plu3 chloroform narcosis. Possibly excitement of the operation and excitement of the first stage of chloroform administration induced the fit.
Dr A. Stenhouse, house surgeon, also gave evidence.
The brother of the deceased complained that no notice of the operation was given him or deceased's peonle, and although he was frequently visited no intimation was given them till they had heard of his death. Dr Stenhouse remarked that it was not deBirable to keep a nervous patient in suspense by too h.lift a notice. •
A verdict was returned that death was due to an epileptio fit whilst under the influence of chloroform properly administered.
INQUEST., Issue 10438, 6 October 1897
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