[Reynoldsʼs Newspaper, 26. Dezember 1869]

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Reynoldsʼs Newspaper. Nr. 1011, 26. Dezember 1869. S. 5.
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On Wednesday, Dr. Lankester, coroner for Central Middlesex, and a jury of gentlemen selected from the vicinity of St. Mark’s-square, Glosester-road, and Regents-park, were engaged some hours investigating eight deaths—five of which were those of persons connected with the infirmary or workhouse of St. Pancras. One inquest was on Hannah Butt, aged sixty-one, an inmate of the infirmary, to whom a newly appointed nurse had administered five grains of calomel, which had been prescribed by the medical officer for a young woman in the next bed suffering from pleurisy. Dr. Ellis was first examined. He said deceased was admitted on the 6th inst. suffering from debility and slightly from diarrhoea, for which he had ordered her a mixture. He had also ordered five grains of calomel to be given to a strong young woman suffering from pleurisy in the next bed. The next morning he (Dr. Ellis) found that the nurse of the ward, who had been appointed temporarily, had given the calomel to the old woman instead of the young woman. The dose given to the deceased in mistake no doubt killed her, as on a post mortem examination all the organs were very pale. All the bottles of medicine for the patients are labelled with the numbers of the beds to which the patients belong. Susan Pentelow, an inmate, and helper in the ward in which deceased died, said she remembered the young man from the dispensary bringing a powder into the ward and give it to her. She gave it to the paid nurse, who gave it to the old woman, deceased. She never rallied afterwards. The names of the two patients, the old woman and the young woman, were not similar. The jury desired to have the evidence of the nurse who had administered the wrong medicine to the deceased, but were informed that the master of the workhouse having discharged her she had left, and it was not known where to find her. Ultimately a verdict of “Death from misadventure” was recorded.


  • Social cases. 1869