Mexborough & Swinton Times, March 31
Pneumonia Caused by a Fall?
Conisborough Lad´s Death After Pit Accident.
Different Medical Views.
The Jury´s Recommendation.
A Conisborough lad named Francis Flintoft, aged 18, died at his lodgings, 5, Claremont terrace, Conisbrough, on Friday, following an accident whilst following his employment at the Yorkshire Main colliery, at Edlington. The lad was employed as an engine driver in the No. 2 South District of the pit, and, a short time ago, he experienced a fall on entering his engine house, and at the inquest, which was conducted by Mr. Frank Allen, the Doncaster Coroner, on Monday, the point was raised as to whether there was any connection between the fall and the onset of the attack of pneumonia, to which the boy succumbed.
Mr. H. J. Humphreys, Inspector of Mines, was present, together with Mr. W. Gillis (Yorkshire Miners Association). Mr. J. Walker (manager, Yorkshire Main Colliery), and Mr. J. Gawthorpe (under-manager).
Mrs. M. J. Flintoft, mother of the lad, of Burn, near Selby, said he had been lodging at Claremont terrace about ten months. Witness last saw him alive the previous Saturday week, when the lad was ill and witness had been sent for. Witness came over again on Thursday and the boy died on Friday. The lad did not say anything, at any time of an accident at the pit. Prior to seeing the boy after the accident she had not seen him for a year. He was a healthy lad.
Thos. Albury of Balby, deputy at Yorkshire Main, said the accident occurred before he got to the district. The boy was coming out “dressed up” and witness asked what was the matter. The lad said he had fallen down and hurt his shoulder. Witness took the lad into a cabin and examined the lad´s left shoulder, but could find no marks. He did not appear to be in great pain, and was able to walk all right. Witness passed the boy out and told him to go to the ambulance station on the surface.
By Mr. Humphreys: The boy said he slipped getting into the engine house.
By Mr. Power: there was no drop of 3ft. 6ins, to get through a fence, but there was a landing. There was a landing there before the accident and he could not say that it had been placed there after the accident.
Mr Walker said the present landing was put in after the accident, but he understood there was a temporary one in use before that.
George Wilding, of 34, Baines avenue, Edlington, deputy in No. 2 South District at Yorkshire Main, said he was on duty on the afternoon shift on March 14 th . Witness received a report from the last witness that Flintoft had gone out of the pit. Witness examined the engine-room and could find no signs of an accident. To get to the engine house one had to get through a fence 4ft high and then down 3ft. to the floor. There was no step, but there was a block in use which stood a foot above the floor. There would be a distance of two feet to climb before the fence was reached. The engine had been working in that position for two months, driven by Flintoft, who had never complained of any risk. The step was a baulk three feet long and one foot wide, and if the lad missed the foot-wide step he would fall the full depth of three feet.
Dr. James Forster, of Doncaster, said he saw the boy at his lodgings on March 15 th . He was in bed and complained of pain in his left shoulder. Witness examined the body and found a slight bruise on the left shoulder and the early symptoms of pneumonia. The boy said he had fallen in the engine house and he thought he hurt his shoulder. The lad became worse and died from double-pneumonia of the left lung. Witness had made a post-mortem examination and pneumonia was the cause of death. He found a slight abrasion on the top of the left shoulder and slight bruising round about.
There were also signs of pleurisy. The accident, if it occurred, had no direct bearing on the death. The pneumonia came on after the accident, but he was of opinion that it had nothing to do with it. The lad´s resisting power might be reduced by the jar of a fall, but he did not state that as a fact. He found no debilitated condition of the lad due to the accident.
By Mr. Gillis: It was not possible for the shock to be the cause of pneumonia.
Mr. W. Moir Shepherd (representing the Y.M.A.) said any injury to the chest, a fall with bruise, was liable to set up pneumonia of the chest. It seemed more that a coincidence that the left side should have been injured and that the pneumonia was on the left side. In his opinion, the fall was the primary cause of death. He would say there was a direct and immediate connection between the fall and the pneumonia.
The jury returned a verdict that they “were of opinion that the accident was the primary cause of death and they recommended that a better means of entrance to the engine-house should be provided”.