THE LATE EXTRAORDINARY DEATH AT THE SKEWEN.|1869-11-20|The Brecon County Times Neath Gazette and General Advertiser for the Counties of Brecon Carmarthen Radnor Monmouth Glamorgan Cardigan Montgomery Hereford - Welsh Newspapers Online
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TREOASTLE.

TALGARTH.

BLACKWOOD.

LAND TENURE.

RHAYADER.

FUNERAL OF MR. PEABODY IN…

BRECON POLICE INTELLIGENCE.…

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THE MAYOR'S SUNDAY.

THE LATE EXTRAORDINARY DEATH…

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THE LATE EXTRAORDINARY DEATH AT THE SKEWEN. On Saturday last, and on Tuesday by adjournment, an inquest was held before Howel Cuthbertson, Esq., on the body of Mrs. Hannah Rees, who died under circumstances which will best be gathered from the evidence, and which, in consequence of the numerous unfounded rumours so extensively circu- culated in reference to the occurrence, we give in extenso. Margaret Clarke deposed I am the wife of Henry Clarke, coal miner; I knew the deceased I saw her last Thursday, in the morning, in bed, but she did not take any notice of anyone; she could not speak; I was present when she died, at a quarter to three o'clock on Friday morning; I did not see any doctor with her. John Bevan was then called. He deposed I live at the Skewen, and am a shoemaker; the deceased was my mother; she was taken ill on Sunday, the 7th instant, while coming from church, about eight o'clock in the evening; she complained of looseness in the bowels, and griping but I did not send for a doctor on that day on Monday she was very ill, with looseness and shivering, and I went to Dr. Ryding on Tuesday morning, between nine and ten o'clock I saw him, and asked him to come up and see my mother, *« Hannah Bevan her name was Hannah Rees j" she was the widow of William Rees I did not see Dr. Ryding at my mother's house on Tuesday morning, so I sent to him again on Tuesday night, about eight o'clock, and the messenger said the deceased's name was Hannah Rees;" he saw her that night, about nine o'clock she was then in bed I went after the doctor to Neath, and he gave me a bottle of medicine, with directions to give two table- spoonfuls every four hours, and the first dose directly I reached home; I received no other directions I returned the bottle to him on Thursday morning; she took the first dose about half-past ten, the next at twenty minutes past two on Wednesday morning, the next between six and seven o'clock, the next at 10.30, and the next at 2.30; the medicine eased the gripings, and stopped the looseness of the bowels I did not see her have any sickness before she took the medicine she slept on the Tuesday night very well; she vomited when I went to give her the second dose, and I gave her a little drop of milk and gruel that night; about six o'clock in the evening I again gave her a dose she got up about three o'clock in the afternoon of Wednesday, and afterwards about five o'clock she vomited then I tried to give her some tea about 5.30, but she vomited it back; Dr. Ryding saw the deceased on Wednesday, about noon I did not speak to him the next dose I gave her was at 10.30, and another at 2.30; I tried to give her another at six o'clock Thursday morning, but I could not wake her; I had great work to get her to take the dose at 2.30, because she was so sleepy on Thursday morning she was sleeping quietly, but taking long breaths her eyes were turned up; her body was motionless at that time; I went to Dr. Ryding at nine o'clock on Thursday morning, with the bottle; I asked him to come up and see my mother, as she was much worse; he gave me a bottle of medicine, and told me that he had changed it, and that he would be there bye-and-bye; Dr. Thomas called between eleven and twelve o'clock she was fast sleeping then; if I asked her anything she would say "What?" that was all; I sent the wife of Evan Jones, tailor, to Swansea, for Dr. Griffiths, by the twelve o'clock train; Dr. Griffiths came at half-past five, and saw the deceased; I heard him tell the woman to give her coffee; he told us to rouse her if we could we tried to do so, but all we could get her to say was What ?" he said nothing to me as to the state of my mother; she died about a quarter to three on Friday morning we had been calling to her, but could get nothing from her. By the Jury: I gave her a teaspoonful of the second medicine when I went home, and one of the women gave her some afterwards. By the Coroner On Wednesday evening, at 6.30, she got senseless up to that time she was talking rationally she did not vomit after the dose at 2.30 on Thursday morning the deceased had no other medicine than what Dr. Ryding gave her. Dr. Ryding was next examined. He depose d I am a physician and surgeon practising at Neath I saw the last witness on Tuesday morning at my surgery, and he asked me to come and see Hannah Bevan;" I went to the Skewen, and made enquiries for a person of that name, but could not find her a messenger came to me the same evening, about eight o'clock, and told me the woman's name was "Rees," and not Bevan," and asked me to come and see her I went at once, and found her in bed she com- plained of intense pain in the bowels; I was shown what was passed," and in fact she had all the symptom of choleraic diarrhoea; the last witness came in after me to Neath, and I put up a bottle of medicine for her myself; I produce a list of the ingredients which the medicine contained (the list was here read to the jnry); there was opium in it, and the dose was ordered every four hours; the estimated quantity of opium in each dose was one quarter of a grain; this would give two grains in the eight doses I saw her again on Wednesday between eleven and twelve o'clock I found her sitting up in bed very much better; she told me that her bowels had moved several times since she first took the medicine she said she felt herself better I told her to continue the medicine; there was not the slightest symptom of coma at that time I told her to send to me on Thursday morning for some more medicine the last witness came down and told me that morning that she was not so well; I asked him if she had looseness of the bowels, and he said "No he said that her bowels had not been moved for some time I gave him a preparation of rhubarb and soda, without opium I saw her again on Thurs- day, between seven and eight o'clock, and found her insensible, and labouring under pressure on the brain; the case was hopeless I did not try to rouse her the last witness told me she became insensible at 5.30 that morning her breathing was slow, but not stertorous the pupils of the eye were contracted, but not to a pin's point; the pulse was full- moderately slow I did not time it the skin was warm and moist; the quantity of opium used was a small dose for an adult; in my opinion death resulted from serous apoplexy; she was rather a short woman I don't think the opium was the cause of the serous apoplexy; Dr. Thomas did not say anything to me of the condition he found the deceased in when he saw her on the morning of Thursday. The evidence of Dr. Griffiths was next taken. He deposed: I am a physician and surgeon practising at Swansea; I visited the deceased on Thursday last; she then lay on her back in bed, breathing very slowly and irregularly-about eight or nine times in the minute mouth half open; tongue dry the breathing noisy, but not amounting to a snore eyes closed as in sleep; perspiration on the forehead; colour of the face natural; so far as I could judge by candle light both pupils of the eyes were con- tracted to a point; temperature of the body generally normal, as far as I could judge by the hand; the skin moist; I exposed the patient her eyes opened when spoken to very loudly; she also moved her head when her arm was beaten sharply with the hand she did not seem to take any notice when pinched; she did not move her arm when pinched in several places between the elbow and the wrist, although the parts pinched bled; she was in a comatose state; from these observations, together with the history of the case from the deceased's friends, I formed an opinion that the deceased was suffering from an over dose of opium; I was told that Dr. Thomas had been attending her last, and I wrote to him informing him of my opinion of the case. The medical gentleman who made the post mortem examination, Mr. James Rogers, was next examined. He deposed I am a surgeon practising at Swan- sea on Saturday morning last I made a post mortem examination of the body of the deceased, about four p.m., being about 38 hours after death; the body was that of a healthy, strong, well conditioned female, apparently from 45 to 48 years of age Externally Slight decomposition in the front part of the throat, back of the neck and shoulders, partly on the arms limbs straight and rigid hands semi- closed belly distended with gas; on laying open the cavity I found the intestines very much distended with gas also small intestines perfectly empty, quite healthy, stomach distended with gas it con- tained a small quantity of perfectly digested food, mucus, without smell, slightly reddish in colour, almost the consistency of gruel; the intestine next the stomach contained a small quantity of the same liquid there was no disease in any portion of the intestines until I came to the right portion of the transverse colon, which, with the remaining portion and the rectum, were very much discoloured and gorged with blood; a small quantity of liquid fcecal matter mixed with mucus was in the lower portion of the colon and rectum; the surface of the rectum was coated wtih mucus, and upon scraping it off I found it studded with bright points of inflammatory action; the same, but in a less degree, was the case with the colon, diminishing gradually up to the transverse colon; the liver healthy; gall bladder full of liquid bile; spleen brittle from decomposition, and very much gorged with blood; kidneys slightly decom- posed, and congested with venous blood, but con- tained no urine; the bladder empty the womb and appendages healthy; the cavity of the belly contained about a pint and a half of bloody serum; the face had a calm and placid expression, slightly flushed eyelids closed, pupils half dilated on cutting open the scalp, I found it firmly attached to the skull, and a good deal of blood oozed during the process; the outward membrane healthy the vessels of the inner membrane very much gorged with blood, very black, especially on the right side the brain was moderately firm, and in cutting it horizontally shewed a great many blood spots; the right choroid plexus was gorged with blood, the left very nearly of its natural colour; the lateral ventricles contained a good deal of serum tinged with blood, and the same condition existed between the membranes; the chest was well developed, lungs healthy heart-right side contained clots of black blood, the left empty and slightly en- larged pericardium healthy, and no effusion there was no effusion in the chest; in my opinion the immediate cause of death was congestive apoplexy or serous apoplexy; it would have rendered her insen- sible for several hours before death; it is usual to give opium in oases of this kind the dose given was a very small one, and the congestive apoplexy was not. caused by the opium. The Coroner having directed the attention of the jury to the principal points in the evidence, and the lucid report of the gentleman who performed the post mortem examination, they returned a verdict of "Death from congestive, or serous, apoplexy." The importance of the above enquiry may be gathered from the fact that the following medical gentlemen were in attendance to give evidence in the case, if required :—Dr. Griffiths, Swansea; Dr. Rogers, Swansea; Dr. Ryding, Neath; Dr. Grif- fiths, Neath; Dr. Russell, Neath; Dr. Evans, Briton Ferry; Dr. Thomas, Neath. It was inci- dentally stated that so far from the doses administered being excessive, there were gentlemen present who would at any time take ten times the quantity con- tained in the mixture, without feeling the slightest ill effects from it I

ABERAVON.

IPENGAM.

BUILTH.