MEDICAL REPORT OF LURGAN UNION WORKHOUSE, FOR THE YEAR ENDING 29TH SEPTEMBER, 1849.
TO THE BOARD OF GUARDIANS, LURGAN UNION. GENTLEMEN,
The proper discharge of the onerous duties entailed upon me, by the great amount of Sickness that prevailed in this Workhouse, until within a very recent period, and my endeavours to reduce to a more systematic arrangement the various departments connected with my office, so engrossed my time, that I regret to say, it has been, heretofore, quite out of my power to submit to you any regular Annual Report. I embrace the first opportunity of leisure which has been afforded me, by the cessation of the last Epidemic, to lay before you a detailed statement of the Sickness and Mortality in the Union workhouse for the last year, to which, and the following observations, I beg your attention.
The admissions for the year have been 2,331. During the same period, 1,757 have been under Medical and Surgical treatment, of which number 900 were admitted in a Delicate state of Health, so that in fact more than one half of those who were under my care, came to the Workhouse as to an Hospital, and were at once treated for the respective Diseases which they had contracted previous to their admission.
The number of Deaths has been 259 during the year; an amount of mortality exceedingly small, when it is considered that there has always been a large proportion of Sick admissions into the House, as contrasted with the admissions into the Houses of neighbouring Unions, arising from the circumstance of our Workhouse being the sole asylum of In-door Medical Relief for the Destitute Sick Poor of a populous Union, so situated as to derive little benefit from the adjoining county Infirmaries and Fever Hospitals; and when, moreover, we consider the circumstances of the past year, rife as it was with Epidemics, attacking chiefly, that class of persons with whom we have to deal, and who were, for the most part, reduced by previous privation and suffering, to such a state of exhaustion and debility, as rendered them the fit recipients and easy victims of Disease, the Mortality will then appear much less than the Sanitary condition of the country during the year might naturally have led us to expect.
You will observe that 79 died from Consumption, a fatal form of Disease from which we are never exempt. The cases of Fever have been fewer in the past than in the two preceding years, but though this has been the case last year, it would be wrong to expect that the decrease in Fever will be permanent, inasmuch as there is a remarkable law of nature which was fully exemplified during the prevalence of Cholera, that two Epidemics are never found in force at the same time, and should Cholera not break out again in this country, I am apprehensive that Fever will again be the chief Disease with which we will have to contend, as in ordinary seasons.
I have paid particular attention during the year gone by to the Sanitary condition of the House and Grounds, my chief object has been to have those prolific external sources of disease, such as filthy yards, deficient drainage and ventilation, surface water, &c., &c., removed. I consider any improvement in this respect an important step, not only towards the comforts of the inmates, but one in the direction of real economy.
From my urgent desire to have those improvements carried out to their present satisfactory condition, I may sometimes have appeared anxious for what some of you might deem unnecessary and expensive changes, but I acted always under the impression that the prevention of Disease is not only kinder to the Inmates of the House, but cheaper to the public than its cure; and although the saving to the Union from the sanitary regulations which have been introduced may not be apparent at present to some, their ultimate tendency is towards that end, which they are as clearly calculated to accomplish for the rate payers, as they are to secure and promote the Health of the Paupers.
Thanking you for the kindness and consideration I have always experienced at your hands since my connexion with you, I remain, Gentlemen, your faithful servant,
WM. ROSS MACLAUGHLIN, M.D., EDIN
Licentiate of the Royal College of Surgeons, Dublin,
Physician to the Lurgan Union Workhouse & Fever Hospital.
25th November, 1849.
DISEASES/No. of Cases/Deaths
Accidents 32 2
Diseases of Brain 15/11
Diseases of Spine 25/12
Diseases of Lungs/Consumption 89/79
Diseases of Lungs/Bronchitis/87/5
Diseases of Lungs/Pneumonia/21/4
Diseases of Heart and Blood Vessels/12/8
Diseases of Stomach and Bowels/Diarrhoea/221/6
Diseases of Stomach and Bowels/Dysentery/70/20
Diseases of Stomach and Bowels/Cholera, Asiatic/86/29
Diseases of Stomach and Bowels/Cholera, English/22/0
Diseases of Bones and Joints/29/3
Diseases of Eye/54/0
Diseases of Liver/10/5
Diseases of Skin and Scalp/255/0
Diseases of Syphilis/27/1
Diseases of Bladder/3/1
Diseases peculiar to Females/21/1
General debility and old age/23/23
General wasting of constitution in Children/27/27
Patients remaining under treatment, 29th September, 1848, 130 Admitted into Hospital from September, 1848, to September, 1849, 1757 Total, 1887 Discharged, Cured, and Relieved. 1498 Left the Hospital, 14 Died. 259 -1771 Remaining 29th September, 1849 116
Moved by J. O. WOODHOUSE, ESQ., and seconded by JOHN M'CARTEN, ESQ., and unanimously resolved:-- That the thanks of this Board are due and hereby given to WM. ROSS MACLAUGHLIN, ESQ., our Medical Officer, for his uniform care and attention to the duties of his Office, and for the very able Report which he has this day mad eon the state of Sickness in the Workhoase [sic]--a copy of which is ordered to be forwarded to the Poor Law Commissioners, and to be printed for the information of the Rate Payers. Signed, WM. BLACKER, D.L. & Lieut. Col. Chairman of the Board of Guardians. T. PENTLAND, Secretary.