Sad Death of a Conisborough Woman – The Employment of Mid Wives.

March 1889

Sheffield Daily Telegraph – Thursday 28 March 1889

Sad Death of a Conisborough Woman.

The Employment of Mid Wives.

On Tuesday evening, at the National Schoolroom, Conisborough, before Mr. Nicholson, coroner, an inquest was held on the body of Hannah Hall, married woman, aged 36, who died under peculiar circumstances on Saturday night.

Supt Blake and Inspector Barrett watched the case.

Thomas Wright, a miner at the Denaby Main Colliery, and living at Conisborough, said deceased’s husband was named Henry Hill, but did not know where he lived. He (witness) had lived with deceased for about two years. She had five children by her husband, and two since she had lived with the witness. She had a woman and not a doctor at the previous confinement. Witness wanted deceased to have doctor, but she engaged Annie Baker, declining to have doctor on the score of expense,

Mrs Baker, at the confinement, came downstairs and said deceased was very poorly, and John Gibbs, assistant to Doctor Hills was sent for. He came at once, but she died at 6 o’clock on Friday night, in the meanwhile being attended by Doctor Hills and his assistant.

Annie Baker was then called, and the coroner reminded her that she was not bound to answer any questions which might incriminate her, and the witness replied that she wished to speak the truth.

She was 29 years of age, and have been to 9 cases altogether, but she had not gone as a paid midwife. She had been to for cases without a medical man, and five cases with. On deceased telling her that she would want her services, she told her that she had better have a doctor, but she heard no more until she was sent for.

At the birth of the child witness suggested that a doctor be sent for, but deceased refused and the doctor was not sent for until she told deceased that she was in danger of dying.

Doctor Hill said was called up at 3 o’clock to see deceased on Saturday morning, and found her in a moribund condition, collapsed and nearly pulseless. There had evidently been internal haemorrhage going on for a considerable time after the birth of the child. All that could be done was done, but she became violently convulsed, the convulsions continuing at intervals until her death. Under the circumstances of the case the midwife had done her best to help deceased, and, as far as he could judge, then had been no culpable negligence, though she was not a skilled midwife.

A juryman: If she is not a proper person she should not attend such cases.

The Coroner: She should not attend without a doctor.

A juryman thought the following would be the proper verdict:

“That deceased died from internal haemorrhage calls by adherent after birth, and that no culpability is attached to anyone concerned.”

Several jurymen thought that the latter part need not be added.

The Coroner: there has been no culpable negligence or we should have needed a verdict of manslaughter.

The remarks as to non-culpability were expunged from the verdict, and enquiry terminated