HC Deb 07 February 1878 vol 237 cc1209-10

asked the Secretary of State for War, Whether it is the case that the medical officer on duty at the Auxiliary Hospital, Woolwich, on the 28th January 1878, on being requested to come to barracks to attend upon a sergeant of the 3rd battalion, Rifle Brigade, who had burst a blood vessel, refused to do so, and ordered the man to be taken to hospital; and that the sergeant died before help could be brought?


I am sorry to say that the facts contained in the Question of my hon. Friend are correct. The sergeant in question sent, I believe, as early as 4 A.M. on the 28th of January for the medical officer, who directed that he should be taken to the hospital. It appears that the man had been for some time suffering from an aneurism affecting the large arteries of the chest, and was only permitted to leave the hospital for a few days at his own request. From inquiries which have been made since, it has been ascertained that if the medical officer had gone to the barracks at once the man's life could not have been saved. The whole circumstances of the case were fully investigated by the General Officer commanding, who reprimanded the medical officer for having committed an error of judgment. The medical officer had expressed his regret that he did not at once go to the sergeant; but his belief was that it was only at the hospital he could be of any use, and unfortunately the man died before he reached the hospital.