HC Deb 28 June 1881 vol 262 cc1485-6

asked Mr. Attorney General for Ireland, If his attention has been called to an inquest held on the body of Mr. Thomas Cooke, who died of apoplexy at Baltinglass, county Wicklow, on the 9th instant, as reported in the "Leinster Leader" of Saturday last, from which it appears that for several hours after the apoplectic seizure Mr. Cooke was not attended by a duly qualified medical man; that Dr. McDowell, the dispensing doctor at Baltinglass, who attended the case, when asked by a highly respectable juror if he was at home when sent for replied that "he would not answer impertinent questions;" that the Coroner, Mr. Philip Newton, when asked by another juror, had he received a medical certificate as to the cause of death, replied, "That was an impertinent question;" that during the progress of the inquest, which appears to have lasted from Twelve o'clock noon till after Four o'clock next morning, the Coroner refused for several hours to send for the doctor though pressed by the jury to call him as a witness; that he refused to receive the following verdict:— That the deceased died on the morning of the 9th instant from an attack of apoplexy; that we consider the reply of Dr. McDowell in refusing to say whether he was at home or not when he was called on to attend deceased most unsatisfactory; it further appears from the Report that the Coroner caused the jury to be locked up in the court-house until they brought in a verdict, drawn up by him at 4.45 a.m.; whether the Doctor McDowell in question has charge of the dispensaries at Baltinglass, Ballytore, and Stratford-on-Slaney, as well as of the Poor-house at Baltinglass; and, whether the proceedings at the inquest were legal; and, if they were not, whether he will take steps to prevent a recurrence of similar proceedings on the part of public officials?


in reply, said, that his attention had been drawn to the subject, and he found on inquiry that the facts were substantially as stated in the Question, except that the inquest did not last until 4 o'clock in the morning, but only until half-past 1. In looking through the accounts of the incidents that occurred, he did not find that there was any actual illegality in the proceedings. He found that Dr. McDowell filled the offices mentioned