To the Editor
Under the above heading an account of an inquest is reported, that I think is unique.
Kindly allow me to state the case according to the report, and then allow me to say a few words in explanation.
At about 11.30 at night a woman feels the pangs of labour, and a midwife is sent for, but she is ill and cannot attend. Another person is got to attend, and a child is born. Four hours after, and the initiated will know what that means, a doctor is sent for, and the doctor is told the case. From what he is told the doctor knows he can do nothing to help the woman and that if he goes it will be merely to take the responsibility off those who had attended the case, and who were responsible.
The result proved the doctor is right. The doctor was not roused till after four o’clock, and, according to the evidence, the woman died at 4.20.
The above was that much of a truth that is worse than a lie.
The facts are (I quote from your report) that “when he could not get one person”
he did not then go to the medical man, but went for his mother and sister-
Persons got hurriedly out of their beds before daybreak in winter weather are not,
as a rule, fond of exposing their persons to the cold air, but that does not matter
to the Deputy-
Again, the Deputy-
Yes and what are the circumstances of the case?
Why, that the doctor was not called until the woman was so near dead that the doctor
could do no good. Read the evidence of Mrs Holmes, who, after being twice pressed
by the Deputy-
Exactly so, and the “more satisfaction” would have been that there would have been
Mrs Holmes says “he (Dr Allan) must have the money in his hand before he goes (to confinements) or he won’t go.”
Now the fact is, and please bear this in mind, that never but once in fourteen years did Dr Allan ever receive his fee until after his professional work was done, and in that one case he was on his way to the patient when the money was handed to him. (I wonder how he knows that)
Happy man! I could in my small experience instance many cases.
Quite recently, in a similar case to the one now under discussion, four doctors one after another declined to move. Another case, which happened within the last six months, and not a great distance from here, three doctors declined to turn out at night, though the patient was believed to be in extremis. And these cases are not exceptional.
If doctors think they can do good they as a rule answer any summons; and I am as sure as that I am writing this that if Dr Allan thought he could have done one bit of good, and that he was not being made a cat’s paw of, he would have gone to the case referred to through rain, hail, or snow, independent of the guinea or of any fee whatever.
I should deeply grieve to say one word that should add another pang to what Jodrell
must have felt at the loss of his wife, and, therefore, I will merely trust that
what he said before the Deputy-
I can speak from long experience of Dr Allan’s invariable kindness in cases of real illness.
The Bible tells us to “beware of that man of whom all speak well,” and Dr Allan, no doubt, has his detractors, he has too little patience with those whose ailments are fancied or magnified to please all, and it is many a guinea he has lost to himself by being too honest to prescribe physic where none was needed. He speaks too straightly for some, but under the seeming roughness there is a kindness that I am sure the majority of the people well know how to appreciate.
A hard blow has been struck at Dr Allan, but from what I know of the Whaley Bridge people after a long residence amongst them they will rally round him and see that justice is done.
I have extended this letter to a greater length than I intended, but the seriousness of the subject must be my excuse.
A. H. Colles
1, Belmont, Higher Broughton, Manchester
March 13th 1888.