HC Deb 11 July 1898 vol 61 cc487-9

The following Question appeared on the Paper—

MR. CHANNING (Northamptonshire, E.)

I beg to ask the President of the Local Government Board whether, in the case of the child Frederick Edwards, whose death has been found by a coroner's inquest in Southwark to have been caused by erysipelas set up by vaccination, this child was vaccinated by Dr. Cory, superintendent of the National Vaccine Establishment, Lamb's Conduit Street; whether the lymph used was glycerinated calf-lymph, and similar to that used in the case of the child Annie Little, in Battersea, whose death was recently found by a coroner's inquest also to be due to erysipelas set up by vaccination; whether it has been brought to his notice that Dr. Cory, although requested to attend the inquest by the coroner, Mr. Langham, failed to attend; and what steps he proposes to take in reference to Dr. Cory, and to prevent the use of lymph which has produced these fatal results?

MR. STEADMAN (Tower Hamlets, Stepney)

I beg to ask the President of the Local Government Board whether he is aware that a death occurred on 20th June at 17, Railway Approach, London Bridge, from erysipelas following vaccination by Dr. Cory at the National Vaccine Establishment on 24th May; whether he is aware that Dr. Cory did not attend the inquest, although the coroner's officer is reported to have said that he had written to Dr. Cory, telling him the time of the inquiry; and whether he will give instructions that a public inquiry shall be made into all the circumstances connected with this death?

When, in the usual course, Mr. SPEAKER invited the honourable Member for East Northamptonshire to put his Question, the honourable Member was not in his place.


The honourable Member is not here to ask the Question, but I think it is in the public interest that it should be answered. I desire to answer also the Question of the honourable Member for Stepney. The child in question was vaccinated, as stated, by the superintendent of the National Vaccine Establishment on the 24th May. The lymph used was not glycerinated calf lymph, the child being vaccinated with 12 other children at the same time, from the same calf, from calf to arm. The 13 children were inspected seven days afterwards on the 31st May, and in all of them the vaccination had followed the normal course, and it was not until 20 days after vaccination that the child was brought again to the station and found to be suffering from erysipelas. The ordinary period of incubation of erysipelas is from one to three days, and the period which elapsed between vaccination and the appearance of erysipelas shows that the erysipelas was due not to the lymph, but to secondary infection during the third week after vaccination. Dr. Cory was not requested to attend the inquest. He was informed that an inquest would be held on the 30th June, at an hour when he had to vaccinate a large number of persons, and he therefore on the 29th visited Dr. Burke, who had attended the child, and gave him all the information he possessed as to the case. As a public inquiry has been held by the coroner, who is reported to have stated to the jury that there was no evidence that the child died from erysipelas set up by vaccination—thus confirming the information which I have received—I do not see the necessity for a further inquiry.