Viney, Mabel

Viney, Mabel        1879 January 25th

On Thursday morning an inquest was held at the Council Chamber, before Mr Smith, city coroner, on the body of Mabel Louisa Viney, daughter of Albert and Elizabeth Viney, of 83, Salt-lane, who was found dead in bed on the morning of the previous day. Mr Morgan was foreman of the jury. The following was the evidence adduced.

Dr Gordon said that until within a fortnight he had been attending the deceased for some weeks. The child had been suffering from whooping-cough and bronchitis; and although it eventually recovered it still had a cough. Since he attended the child he had been in attendance on the mother, and on these occasions he heard that the child was progressing favourably. On the previous day at about five in the morning he was called upon to attend the child, and upon arriving at the house of the parents he examined it and found it quite dead. He had since examined the child, and it might possibly have died from a sudden congestion of the lungs. He could not say exactly until he had made a post mortem examination. The mother told him that the night before its death it breathed huskily, and said she “poulticed” it. He did not think the child was overlaid, or that it was suffocated by the clothes being placed over it, but he could give no decisive opinion. There were no marks on the body, and he had no reason to suspect that the child died by unfair means. When he had seen the deceased, it appeared well nursed and taken care of.

Elizabeth Viney, mother of the deceased, said the child was born on the 13th of last May, and from its birth had been very delicate. She had had medical advice from time to time and Dr Gordon had attended it. She had, however, recovered from those illnesses and within the last fortnight had appeared to getting on pretty nicely; but still the cough from which she suffered had been rather troublesome. When witness put deceased to bed on Tuesday night it was in its usual state of health, and during the day had taken its food as usual. Witness herself went to bed at ten o’clock, and the child then appeared to be all right; but at two o’clock it “fretted,” and witness turned it over on its side and gave it some milk. She then went to sleep. At five o’clock she (witness) woke and found it had ceased breathing, and on putting her hand over its face she found it was cold. Witness immediately called to her husband told him that she thought the child was dead and then procured a light. She then called to a neighbour, Mrs Saunders, for assistance, and had Dr Gordon fetched. The child’s feet and legs, when she first woke, were warm. She had no idea of having laid on the child in the night, or of having put too much clothes on it. There were no signs of it, either. When Dr Gordon arrived he pronounced it to be dead.

By jurors : When witness saw the child at five, it was in the same position as she left it at two – with its face turned towards her. The face was not discoloured at all. The child had during the day thrown up a great deal of phlegm, and had had a difficulty in breathing. Witness could not say if the child was choked by the phlegm, but she should imagine that if it had been she should have found it struggle in the night. Previous to the child going to bed witness had poulticed her chest; and also given her some medicine which Dr Gordon had let her have for it. She had given deceased no other medicine except that ordered by Dr Gordon

The jury returned a verdict of “Death from Natural Causes.”


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