11. Lieut.-Colonel J. WARD
asked the Minister of Pensions whether his attention has been called to the case of Thomas Robert Heward, a railway goods guard, of Pontefract, who was while at work found bleeding from the mouth, from which he died in March last; is he aware that he was examined by a medical board in January and adjudged cured, and his pension stopped; that a postmortem revealed a jagged piece of shrapnel, an inch square, which had cut the muscle of the heart causing death; whether he has called for a full report upon this case; and, if so, what is the nature of the same?
§ Major TRYON
Full inquiry was made into this case at the time, and I have no doubt that the cause of death was as stated in the question. I may explain, however, that the pension which was in payment, was in respect of neurasthenia, and that neither at the medial board held in January last, nor at any of the previous medical examinations made by my Department, did the man claim any disablement from the gunshot wound, nor was any such disablement suspected. I am satisfied that the circumstances of the case were quite exceptional, but additional precautions have been taken to guard against the presence of foreign bodies being overlooked.
Was any X-ray examination made—as the doctor at the inquest said if the man had been X-rayed the presence of shrapnel must have been revealed?
§ Major TRYON
This man applied for a pension on the ground of neurasthenia, and I think, therefore, it is possible no X-ray examination was made. We are issuing new Regulations to have X-ray examinations made in doubtful cases to try to avoid the danger of such cases as that to which my hon. and gallant Friend refers.