Scammell, John

Scammell, John         1918 November 22nd             Dinton

An Unfortunate Meal

How a five year old child died as the result of a rabbit bone lodging in his throat was related to the City Coroner (Mr A M Wilson) at the Infirmary on Tuesday afternoon, when he held an inquest without a jury.

William George Scammell, of Dinton, said that his little boy, John Scammell, and his daughter, were having tea, which was composed of rabbit and vegetables, when he got home from work about half past four on Monday, November 11th. He was in another room washing when the little boy shouted, “Oh, Mammie, I have swallowed a bone.” He and his wife tried to do what they could, but they could not get the bone out. His eldest son, Walter, then went on a bicycle for Dr Clay, at Fovant, but the doctor said he could not do anything for the child, and the only thing to do was to take the boy to the Infirmary, which the mother did the same day.

Clifford William Patterson, house surgeon at the Infirmary, stated that on this occasion he saw the boy about six o’clock in the evening. He took the child to the x-rays room, and he was not quite sure so he waited for the x-ray photograph. Shortly after he told the child’s mother she had better leave the boy in the ward for further examination, but owing to a misunderstanding the boy was taken away, and was not brought back until the following Thursday, November 14th. The child was then in obvious distress and showed signs of bronchitis. The throat was examined by putting the finger down, and the bone was fixed to the gullet. The child was given an anaesthetic and the bone was removed by an operation, and the child recovered and appeared to be comfortable. Later, however, pneumonia developed, and the boy died on Monday, at 9.30am.

In reply to the Coroner, the doctor said that the bone sticking in the throat prevented the boy from swallowing, and he thought that some of the food got in the air passages and caused the inflammation, which was followed by pneumonia.

A verdict was returned in accordance with the medical evidence.

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