Musgrove, Eva

Musgrove, Eva         1874 November 21st

On Wednesday evening last, at the Crown Hotel, High-street, in this city, an inquest was held by Dr Young, city coroner, and a jury of which Mr Charles Humby was foreman, relative to the death of Eva Musgrove, a child aged thirteen months, which died suddenly on Wednesday morning.

Mrs Eliza Ann Musgrove, the mother of the deceased, wife of Mr Musgrove, a compositor, living in New-street, Salisbury, said the child had been ailing since the preceding Monday, apparently from a cold and the cutting of its teeth. She procured some medicine for it from Mr Young, the chemist, but she had no apprehension that the child was in any danger. It was apparently no worse than it had been several times before. On the Tuesday night it appeared to be somewhat better, but about half past six in the morning of Wednesday (the day of this inquest) it had a changed look, and she thought it was going to have a fit. She sent for Dr Young (the city coroner) about eight o’clock, but as he did not come, she put the child into a warm bath. It died about half an hour afterwards. Dr Young’s assistant came, but it was then dead.

The Coroner said that as the child had died without medical attendance it was necessary, for the satisfaction of the public, to hold an inquest. It was not at all with the view of causing Mrs Musgrove the least discomfort, for she had evidently done all in her power to save her child.

A juryman asked how it was that Dr Young did not attend upon the child or send to it sooner.

The Coroner explained that he was himself unwell, and had not risen when the message came, but he sent his assistant, Mr Wilkes, who was then in attendance upon a patient, and that gentleman went to Mrs Musgrove’s aid as soon as he possibly could.

Mr W P Young a chemist, living on the Canal, said that Mrs Musgrove came to him on Monday evening, and obtained some medicine for her child, who she said had a cold such as it had had before. He had several times given her the same medicine. It was ipecacuhana wine and oxymel of squills, with proper directions as to the dose to be given. She did not appear to consider the child in danger, nor did he, or he would have sent for a medical man at once.

The Coroner examined the remainder of the medicine, and was satisfied of its harmlessness. He said it was a pity such illness was so long overlooked, but if medical man had been called earlier, he would probably have discovered what ailed the child, and so have saved its life. It was not possible for a medical man always to attend upon a patient at a moment’s notice, but all the doctors in the world would not have saved the child that morning. It was open to the jury, however, to express any opinion they pleased as to the medical man’s conduct. His own opinion was that death was the result of congestion of the lungs, and the parents were evidently not aware that their child was so ill as it was.

The jury, in recording a verdict of death from natural causes, expressed their opinion that no blame was attachable to anybody.

The Coroner said the city should be congratulated on the prolonged absence of casualties calling for his interposition. Three months had now elapsed since he had had occasion to hold an inquest.

Extra      1874 November 28th

In our report of the inquest into the cause of death of an infant last week, by Dr Young, the city coroner, a slight inadvertence occurred. It was stated that, being unable to attend upon he child himself when summoned, Dr Young “sent his assistant, Mr Wilkes.” This was not so. Mr Wilkes practises independently in this city. Dr Young sent to his assistant, but that gentleman being, like his principal, unable promptly to attend, Mr Wilkes went to see the child, who was, however, dead when he arrived.


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