HC Deb 03 May 1887 vol 314 cc686-7
MR. W. J. CORBET(for Dr. KENNY) (Cork, S.)

asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, with reference to the case of "Lamb v. Ashe," tried recently before the Recorder of Dublin, Will he state under what Rule of Privy Council, or Order of Lunacy Department, the use of cold plunge bath is permitted as a punishment for lunatics; whether any Rule was made by Privy Council, or Order issued by Lunacy Department, forbidding the use of the cold plunge bath for such a purpose, on the occasion of the trial for the homicide, in 1872, of a lunatic, named Danford, in the Limerick Asylum, of an attendant in that institution, who was alleged to have caused Danford's death by submersion in a cold plunge bath; and, whether, on that occasion, the Resident Medical Superintendent was forced to resign his office for having permitted the use of the cold plunge bath in Danford's case, and for subsequently partly obliterating the reference to the occurrence in the daily statement book?


(who replied) said: The Privy Council Rule relied on by Dr. Ashe for ordering the cold plunge bath as a punishment for lunatics is No. 49 of the Special Rules for Dundrum Asylum, or No. 79 for ordinary district asylums, both being in identical terms. This Rule recognizes the use of the cold bath as a punitive measure, but with certain safeguards, requiring that it shall be administered only under the express direction of either of the medical officers and in the presence of an attendant or servant. No special Rule or Order was issued after the death of Danford forbidding the use of the cold bath. As regards the ease of the Limerick Resident Medical Superintendent, which relates to some 15 years ago, the Government of the day found that he had committed several irregularities both before and after the death of Danford, and they felt it to be their duty to call upon him to resign. However, as already explained to the House, the circumstances of the Dundrum and Limerick cases are quite dissimilar. I may add that the Irish Government have recently decided that the use of baths for punitive purposes is objectionable, and they have given an order for their discontinuance.