Man’s delirium follows burns

August 1913

August 9th 1913.

A Denaby Man’s Death.
Peculiar Story Told At Inquest. Delirium Follows Burns.

At the Doncaster Union Workhouse on Tuesday evening, Mr. Frank Allen, the District Coroner, held an inquest on the body of Samuel Davis ( 35 ), a miner, of 12 Thrybergh Terrace, Denaby Main, who died in the institution early on Sunday morning, following an accident at the Reresby Arms Hotel, where he was employed as a waiter during the week-ends.

Mr. A.H. Howe represented the widow.

In opening the inquiry, the Coroner said the deceased, in addition to being employed at the pit, was engaged at the Hotel, his duties including looking after the gas-engine.

He had been attended some time previous to his death by Dr. McArthur, for septic poisoning in his fingers, and later for inflammation of the ear. He was also understood to have been a heavy drinker. On the doctor’s advice, however, he gave up drink a fortnight ago, and on the date of the accident ( Friday ) he went to see to the gas-engine. There was no one with him, but he was later found in the yard, severely burned about the left arm and the body. After he had received attention he was removed home, and later brought to the work -house.

There were several questions which required the jury’s careful consideration. They had to find what was the cause of the man’s death, whether it was in any way attributable to the deceased’s previous habits of life, or whether on the other hand, it was due to the accident. If there was likely to be any serious conflict of testimony as to the man’s previous mode of life, and the condition of his health at the time, he thought it would only be right to both parties – the employer and the deceased’s widow – that the inquiry should be adjourned for the attendance of Dr. McArthur.

The deceased’s widow, Delilah Davis, giving evidence of identification, said she lived at 12 Thrybergh Terrace, Denaby Main. Deceased was a coal miner, but in addition was employed at the Reresby Arms Hotel, waiting-on Saturdays and Sundays, and attended to the gas-engine which drove the dynamo during the week. He generally supervised the engine on Saturday and Sunday. Deceased was not an intemperate man.

The Coroner : Well, I have a report here which says he had been attended by Dr. McArthur for septic poisoning, and that if he did not give up drinking he would have delirium tremens.

Witness : Well, he liked a glass of beer, and they will not let a drunken man wait-on in a public house.

Proceeding, she said that the doctor told him he would have “ D.T.’s “ when he saw him after the accident. Proceeding, she said her husband behaved strangely at home after the accident. He told her he tripped over a loose board in the engine-house, and fell against the engine. When they found him he was wandering about the yard. He was not on fire then, but his shirt sleeve had been burned off. The deceased during the afternoon had periods of lucidity, though he was never properly out of his mind. Occasionally, however, he would start picking his fingers, and feeling on the sofa for some money he said he had lost. Also he tried to pull his bandages off. He knew everybody about. In the afternoon as he was going down the yard, he stopped to talk to a young man who lived next door, and he suddenly reeled round and round and fell to the ground. He came round later and seemed alright. He was removed to the workhouse because the doctor said he thought he would gradually become worse and it would be for her safety to remove him, as she would be unable to manage him.

The doctor anticipated he would become delirious.

Replying to Mr. Howe, she said that deceased had not worked at the pit for seven weeks, in consequence of blood poisoning. He had been teetotal for two weeks. He had thrown off the ‘club’ and was going to start work.

James Lee, of 23 Makin Street, Mexborough, cellar-man at the Reresby Arms, said he saw the deceased about 9-30 in the morning, in the yard, He seemed in a dazed condition, and he was picking at his arm and his shirt. When he got to him he asked him what was the matter, and he made no reply. He was in such a dazed condition that witness could make nothing of him. His left arm was burned and scorched. He was attended to, and the doctor was brought. Witness afterwards examined the engine-house. The engine was not running, and he did not think it had been running, for the gas was out. It took about quarter of an hour to get the tube hot before it could be tried. It was quite possible if the deceased had fallen over the flame for it to have blown out. The gas was on. It was a 16 horse-power engine.

Asked as to the deceased’s habits, witness said he liked a glass of beer, and sometimes he took more than was good for him. He had seen him drunk more than once. There was nothing in his physical condition the previous week to prevent him carrying out his duties in the engine-house.

Replying to a juryman, he said he believed an accident had happened in the engine-house, and that deceased was perfectly sober on Friday morning.

Michael Dugan, the landlord of the hotel, said he considered the man fit physically, to perform his duties. He had, however, had occasion to suspend him about six months ago, for two months, in consequence of his drinking habits.

Replying to a juryman, he said he believed an accident had happened in the engine-house before, but previous to him taking over the hotel. He understood the man was nearly blown out of the place.

Dr. W.R. Willey, of Balby, who attended the deceased at the workhouse, said when he first saw him he was in a state of delirium. He was very restless, and had nearly stripped himself of his clothes. He was suffering from an extensive burn on his left arm, the armpit and the side of his chest.

To what do you attribute the delirium ?

Well, it is difficult to say exactly. It looked very much like delirium tremens from his condition.

What do you say the cause of death was ?

I should think it was due to the delirium, probably accelerated by the burns. In my opinion the burns themselves were hardly sufficient to cause death in a healthy person, but, of course, if a person is not healthy, or addicted to drink, it is quite liable to bring on delirium, and might cause a fatal termination. There would be a great deal of shock from the burns, I admit.

Replying to Mr. Howe, the Doctor said that delirium tremens might be brought on by external violence.

Nurse Rosenstein said deceased, in his delirium, spoke about drink all the time.

Addressing the jury at length, the Coroner said that it was not a court in which they had to consider any legal consequences.

After deliberating in private for a considerable time, the jury returned a verdict that deceased died “ Through delirium following a shock by burns accidentally received.”