Denaby Boy´s Death – Victim of Appendicitis – Pit Injury ?

July 1923

Mexborough & Swinton Times, July

Denaby Boy´s Death

Victim of Appendicitis

Suggestion that Death was Due to Pit Injury

Mr. Frank Allen held an inquiry on Wednesday touching the death of James Rigby (15), of 12, Annerley street, Denaby Main, a pony driver, in the employ of the Denaby Main Colliery Company.

The father of the boy stated that on Sunday morning Dr. McArthur called to see the boy, who was then lying in bed, very ill. The doctor asked permission to perform an operation, which permission he (the father) granted. On Sunday evening he accompanied his son to the Fullerton Hospital, where the operation was performed between 8.30 and 9. the boy died the same night. When his son came home from work last Tuesday (July 10) he complained of being hurt, having caught his foot and being thrown against a ventilating “door” down the mine. The boy did not report the accident when he came out of the pit. His mother went with him to Dr. McArthur´s surgery, and the doctor advised the boy to report the accident to the Colliery authorities.

John Shelton, of 87, Annerley street, Denaby, a haulage hand, was working with “Jim” Rigby on Friday (July 6), on the morning shift.

Coroner: Do you know of any accident that happened to him

Witness: No, sir, nothing whatever

Coroner: did he make any complaint to your?

Witness: No. sir.

James Prendergast, a pony driver, of Cliff View, Denaby Main, was working with Rigby on Monday and Tuesday July 9 and July 10)

Coroner: What was he doing?

Witness: He was carrying lockers for us from the bottom of the incline to the “door”

Coroner: Did he pass through the door?

Witness: No, sir.

Coroner: How far did he travel down the incline with the lockers?

Witness: About 40 yards

Coroner: Did anything happen to him, during these two shifts?

Witness: No, sir.

Coroner: Did he make any complaint?

Witness: He made a complaint to me about 7 p.m. on Tuesday, of a pain in his stomach. He was bent double. Rigby was able to work out the shift and we left the pit together.

A Juryman: Did he tell you anything about meeting with an accident on the 6 th ?

Witness: No sir.

Dr. J. McArthur first saw the boy on Wednesday (July 11) when he and his mother visited the surgery. The boy complained of a pain in his right side and the doctor made an external examination. His mother said the trouble had been caused by an accident which had occurred in the pit the day previous. The doctor questioned the boy, who spoke of an accident which had occurred the Friday before, “Which of you, am I to believe?” asked the doctor, and the boy repeated his assertion that an accident had occurred the previous Friday (July 6).

The doctor found a slight bruise over the haunch bone and advised hot fomentations. He examined the boy on the following day and discovered that he was suffering from appendicitis. He informed the mother, who was present at the examination, of the cause of the trouble. On Friday Dr. McArthur advised an immediate operation to which the father was willing, but the mother refused her consent. On Sunday the boy was much worse, but again the parents refused to agree to an operation. Later two brothers called and told the doctor that Mr. and Mrs. Rigby were willing for the operation to be performed.

A specialist was called. He arrived on Sunday evening. The boy, whose condition was extremely critical, was removed to the Fullerton Hospital and the operation was performed at 8.45 p.m. on Sunday. The boy´s condition was hopeless and he died about 1 p.m. Monday. Death was due to appendicitis and syncope, and was not in any way connected with any accident.

Coroner: How long had the appendicitis been developing? About 10 or 11 days.

The doctor admitted that when he was first called he was deceived by the reference to the bruise. There was no connection whatever between the bruise and the complaint.

Coroner: Now, Mr. Rigby, do you still maintain that the doctor never told you your boy was suffering form appendicitis?

Mr. Rigby: No, he never did.

The Coroner during the summing up, was interrupted, once or twice by the father, who was warned to keep silent. “One cannot help thinking”, said the Coroner, “that the alleged accident existed, very largely in the imagination of Mrs. Rigby”. He went on to suggest that the doctor had been obviously misled by the early references to the supposed accident. “The doctor is most emphatic that the bruise referred to had no bearing whatever on the complaint”, concluded the Coroner.

A verdict was returned “Death due to appendicitis.”

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