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Deganwy Schoolmaster's Action.


Deganwy Schoolmaster's Action. HEAVY DAMAGES AWARDED. The bearing of the action of George Field, headmaster of the Woodland School, Deganwy, against Mrs. Margaret Thomas and J. W. Hughes, as executors of the late, Emmanuel Jones, Marl Farm, claiming 62,500 damages for breach of warranty in connection with the sup- ply of milk to his school, was continued in the Civil Court of the Liverpool Assizes on Thurs- day. Mr. Horridge, K.C., M.P., and Mr. Rigby Swift (instructed by Messrs. Field, Sons, and Harrison) were plaintiff's counsel; and the de- fendants were represented by Mr. W. F. K. Taylor, K.C., and Mr. Cuthbert Smith (in- structed by Mr. J. W. Hughes, of Cooway). The defence, as outlined by Mr. Taylor on Wednesday, is that there were other causes which might have accounted for the outbreak. He particularly emphasised the fact that there had been an epidemic at Llandudno Junction SIOmei little time previously, and suggested that this had left the neighbourhood rich in infective powers. A DELIBERATE LIE. Dr. John David Jones, who attended Mrs. Margaret Thomas during her attack of typhoid fever, at the beginning of the year, when she was in the hospital, said that when she was in the hospital she was visited by the late Em- manuel Jones, to whom she acted as house- keeper. 'There was no rislc of infection by those visits. When she left the hospital, in March, Mrs. Thomas was in a fit and propel condition to be discharged. The only hesitation about her removal was on account of her bodily weakness. Mr. Taylor Are you an old friend of Mrs. Thomas? Witness: No. Is there foundation for the suggestion that you are engaged, or are going to be engaged, or are courting, or paying attention to a daughter of hers?—None at all. It is a deliberate lie. Witness said he bad attended Emmanuel Jones in his last illness, and as he had considerable difficulty in making his diagnosis Sir James Barr was called in. Witness had satisfied him self that there was some congestion of the lungis, and Sir James agreed with him on that point. Mr. Taylor: Was anything else said by Sir James Barr as to any other possible cause of his illness?—No, but I saw him taking samples of the patient's blood, so I asstumed that he suspected typhoid. Why did you send in to the public health authorities notification that it was a case of typhoid?—For the sole reason that Sir James Barr took these blood samples. It could do no harm to notify it as typhoid even if it were not. Was it your personal opinion that it was typhoid ?-N o. A DEATH CERTIFICATE. Witness added that the day after making this notification he received from Sir James Barr an intimation that the first of the blood samples had been tested without showing typhoid. He then thought he had made a mistake in notifying the case. He heard nothing further from Sir James Barr, and when the patient died, witness made out a death certificate from valvular disease of the heart, typhoid fever, and con- gestion of the lungs. His Lordship Although you thought you had made a mistake in notifying the case as typhoid?—Yes, I thought I would stick to, it. (Laughter.) Witness added that he had wished to avoid the difficulties, the case having been notified as typhoid. Mr. Taylor: What were the difficulties?—Dr. Travis, the medical officer, has to make his re- port to the Registrar-General about the cases. He had my report that it was typhoid, and then he would see the death certificate with no re- ference to typhoid. His Lordship You could give your explana- tion. There would be no. difficulty about -that, would there? Witness agreed. Mr. Horridge Are you in the habit of putting things in your certificate which are not true for the purpose of helping the medical officer?—'No. When you certified that the patient died from typhoid you honestly believed it to be true?—I took the assumption of Dr. BaD". His Lorship Did you believe it to be true?— I did. TECHNIQUE OF TYPHOID. Dr. A. J. Fulilerton, an expert on typhoid, said he had visited Marl Farm, the Woodlands School, and Llandudno Junction. Neither the outbreak at the school nor the Neville Hydro presented the appearance of a milk outbreak. Considered one by one almost every case was against the milk hypothesis. The usual characteristics of a milk outbreak, he said, were that the onset was sudden, the course comparatively short, and the termination abrupt. In ordinary outbreaks, males, gtoing about in a greater degree and being more ex- posed to chance infection, were more lifcely to be attacked by the disease, but in milk out- breaks, the infection being in the home, the proportion of females attacked was relatively higher. In milk outbreaks, moreover, the cases were generally leas severe, and there was a smaller proportion of contact or secondary cases. If the milk supplied to the Woodlands School was contaminated a larger number of ca.ses would have occurred, as all the inmates drank the same milk. Witness connected the outbreak at the school with the epidemic at Llandudno Junction, which commenced with a case notified on November 6th, 1908, and concluded with a case notified on June 20th of this year. He linked them all to- gether as one outbreak. The cause, he believed, was the condition of the foreshore of the river in the neighbourhood of the Junction. Mr. Horridge: Is there any reasonable pos- sibility of typhoid being communicated through house drains?—Under certain condition-s I might say that the idea is not exploded. In say- ing so I am not giving my own opinion. Is it reasonably possible in certain cases?—In certain cases it is distinctly possible that typhoid fever can be connected with defective drainage. Witness agreed that unless the germs came up from the sewer the condition of the drains at the school could not produce typhoid. BOYS AND BACILLI. Dr. Glynn expressed the opinion that the out- break at the school was not due to milk. His main reason for holding this opinion was that so many boys who drank the milk did not get typhoid. It was difficult to assign the outbreak to any particular cause. Sixty or seventy per cenrt. of typhoid cases were never accounted for. Witness proceeded to .state that he was familiar with the Conway, knew the outfalls, and had seen the mussels dragged up and left lying about the shore. That, he thought, was a possible cause of the outbreak. It was pointed out that the school was a mile away. To this Dr. Glynn, replied that the boye might go to the bacilli as well as the bacilli to the boys. (Laughter.) Boys were in the habit of wandering about, and 90 were bacilli. (More laughter.) Replying to. another question, witness said that if there were bacilli in the sewers and the trap- ping of the drains was defective, there would be no difficulty about their getting into, a hou. Dr. Nathan Raw said that it was impossible to determine one way or another what was the cause of the outbreak, but he thought the cir- cumstanced were against the milk theory. Mr. Taylor Do. you think the Conway estu- ary is a likely source of infect:i.on ?It is well known that many estuaries are infective, especi- ally in autumn. His Lordship: Do you go so far as to say that Llandudno is a dangerous place to stay at during autumn? (Laught,er.)-Oih, no. Mr. Horridge Do you say the same of the Mersey ? Mr." Taylor Well, there is typhoid in Liver- pool sometimes. Unless drains were absolutely airtight organ- isms might enter them anywhere, witness said. The latest researches showed that it was pos- sible for organisms to pass through defective drains into a house. THE VERDICT. The hearing of the action was concluded on Fridav, when counsel addressed the jury. Mr Taylor called special attention to. the cOon. flict of opinion among the medical experts, and emphasised the fact that fresh cases of typhoid entirely unconnected with milk supply occurred in Llandudno Junction in March and April was stronigty in favour of the argument that the cases at Deganwy originated otherwise than from milk contamination. Mr Horridge, for the plaintiff, claimed that it had been clearly proved that the milk from Marl Farm was the cause of the outbreak at Woodlands. His Lordship, in summing up, stated that the jury could take it that there was a warranty by the late Emmanuel Jones that the milk he sup- plied was reasonably fit for consumption. The jury, after an. hour and a half's considera- tion, returned a verdict for the plaintiff, award- nig Zgoo damages. The following were the questions submitted to the jury and the answers given to them:- Did the plaintiff, his daughter, or the boy Wood get typhoid fever owing to the milk sup- plied by Emmanuel Jones having become in- fected with typhoid germs?—Yes. Was the case of Mrs. Field a direct or a con- tact case ?—iContact. What pecuniary damage has the plaintiff sus- tained?— £ 500. Do you award any, and what, sum for pain and suffering —'No. Did the plaintiff sustain any, and what, loss through the death of Mrs Field?—No. Mr Taylor asked that the jury should specify how much of the damages was for loss of profit. This was done, the amount for loss of profit being fixed at £r60, and judgment was then en- tered for £5°0. An application by Mr Taylor for stay of exe- cution for fourteen; days was refused but His Lordship accepted from the plaintiff's solicitor an undertaking that he would not part with the £500 awarded for a fortnight, and gave the de- fendant liberty within the same period to make application for the payment of that sum into Court in case an appeal was decided on. In consideration of the case having lasted four and a half days, His Lordship intimated to the jury that he would ,exempt them from further jury service for six years. A Juror asked whether the exemption would include service in connection with Coroners' in- quests ? The Associate No, we are all liable to that.

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