HC Deb 02 November 1909 vol 12 cc1645-6

asked the President of the Local Government Board if he is aware that during the 13 years 1895–1907, at the hospitals of the Metropolitan Asylums Board, there were 63,249 cases of diphtheria treated with anti-toxin; that 8,917 of these cases died, being a case fatality of 14 per cent.; that in the same hospitals, in the same period, there were 11,716 cases of diphtheria which were not treated with anti-toxin; that 703 of these cases died, being a case fatality of 6 per cent.; and that out of these 703 deaths 55 were considered hopeless on admission to hospital; and if he will recommend legislation to stop the use of anti-toxin in public hospitals?


I am aware of the figures to which my hon. Friend refers and which appear to be derived from the Annual Report of the Managers for 1907. No comparison, however, can properly be drawn between the death-rate of patients treated with antitoxin and that of patients not so treated. The latter class consists largely of persons suffering from a mild form of diphtheria, who were not ill enough to require the special treatment, and, indeed, the few deaths that occur in this class are almost entirely those of patients who were too ill or who came into hospital at too late a stage in their illness to derive any benefit from the injection of anti-toxin. I could not undertake to adopt the suggestion in the last part of the question.


Is it not the fact that the alleged good effects of anti-toxin are, where it is given on the first day of the illness, and therefore his remarks are not a reply?