HC Deb 07 July 1905 vol 148 cc1471-2

To ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland whether, in reference to the deaths in the Cootehill Infirmary, the Local Government Board asked for a personal explanation from the local doctor for his refusal to administer ether in the case of Fitzpatrick, who died after operation; if not, whether the Board will now ask for a personal answer; whether the medical officer made any report of Fitzpatrick's death to the Local Government Board or to the guardians; if so, what has been alleged as the cause of death; and whether the local police were apprised of the death of Fitzpatrick or of any of the four deaths of the previous January; if not, whether any other opportunity was afforded for making any complaint.

(Answered by Mr. Walter Long.) I have already informed the hon. Member that the local doctor did not refuse to administer ether, but asked to be excused as he was not in good health. The doctor, however, would have been quite at liberty to refuse his professional services, and the Board would have had no right to ask him for an explanation, and have not done so. The medical officer made no special report of Fitzpatrick's death. The local police were not apprised of the deaths referred to. The relatives of the deceased could have complained to the Board if they had seen fit to do so.


To ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland whether he can state the length of time spent by the inspector of the Local Government Board in his minute investigation of the cause of deaths in the Cootehill Infirmary; whether it was only the medical officer who performed the operations whom he consulted; and whether, considering the number of deaths from operations in the Cootehill Workhouse, the Local Government Board will order an inquiry in the case of every such death.

(Answered by Mr. Walter Long.) The Board have no record of the actual time occupied by their inspector in making his investigation, but the exhaustive report furnished by him indicates that he interrogated the nurses and workhouse officials. In the absence of any complaints of neglect or incompetency, supported by prima facie evidence, the Board do not order inquiries to be held in the case of deaths following operations.