Deaths in Motherwell Hospital 1905

from the Annual Report of the County & District Medical Officer

The 3 patients suffering from pneumonia were aged 14, 27 and 30 respectively, all males.  2 had double pneumonia and the first case died.  he had suppurative pericarditis, and was tapped twice, 30 ounces of pus being removed each time; 6 days before death he was operated upon, and a drain inserted into the pericardium.

Duodenal Ulcer
This was a woman of 43, who had had gastrointestinal symptoms for about a year. A duodenal ulcer was present, which had ruptured prior to admission; the resulting peritonitis was local, owing to adhesions, but a large collection of pus formed, pointing in the epigastrium. She was operated upon, the pus evacuated, and a drainage tube inserted. Complete relief was not obtained, and five weeks afterwards a second operation was performed - by Dr. Farquhar Macrae - but the patient only survived about a fortnight.

The patient, a rachitic child of 7, was admitted on the twenty second day of disease, with throat symptoms, abdominal pains, and diarrhoea. Ulcerative stomatitis was present, which rapidly got worse, and death took place 13 days afterwards from septicaemia.

Fatal Cases of Scarlet Fever
The 5 deaths were all under five years of age, the youngest being a baby of a little over a year old. 4 were of the anginose type, and 1 of the simple, complicated by the presence of whooping-cough. The latter, a girl of 4, was admitted on the eighth day of disease; meningitis set in on the twenty-fourth day, and she died seven days afterwards. Of the other 4 cases, all admitted on the third or fourth day of disease, 2 were members of the same family, and were in a severe toxaemic condition from the onset. Antistreptococcic serum (40 cc.) was administered to one of them, with no benefit.

Fatal Cases of Diphtheria
This disease was responsible for 8 deaths. 2 took place within the first 24 hours, and 3 within 48 hours. The causes of death were as under:-

  • Asphyxia, ..................................1 (12 hours)
  • Toxaemia, ..................................2 (34 hours ; 43 hours).
  • Toxaemia + Broncho-pneumonia, .1 (8 days)
  • Toxaemia + Tracheotomy.............1 (16 hours)
  • Pulmonary Obstruction, ...............2 (30 hours ; 4 days)
  • Scarlet Fever, .............................1 (31 days)

The latter case, a child of 2 years of age, after being in Hospital for a fortnight, contracted scarlet fever from another child who was admitted to the same ward incorrectly diagnosed as being a diphtheria case, while in reality suffering from scarlet fever. There was no actual contact between the two children, nevertheless, the presence of the latter in the ward for a short time before it was removed was sufficient to set up a very virulent form of the disease in the former. It was of such an acute septic character that most of the soft tissues of the pharynx ulcerated away previous to death.

The patient who died from asphyxia was a young man of 18, a Russian Pole, from Bellshill. Although quite a favourable case for tracheotomy, the parents absolutely refused their permission. A similar case occurred last year also.

Fatal Case of Erysipelas
The latter, a man of 26, admitted on the ninth day, had deep-seated buccal and cervical cellulitis and necrosis. In spite of free incisions and the administration of 80 cc. of antistreptococcic serum, the patient died four days afterwards. Pleurisy developed before death.

Fatal Case of Puerperal Fever
The fatal case, a woman of 44, was in a desperate condition on admission, and only lived four days. She had double pneumonia, and erysipelas, extending from the axillae to the popliteal spaces, vaginal in origin, and, previous to the confinement as well as after it, had been badly neglected physically.