Workhouse Doctor Accused

19th Century Lodgings in Lurgan

Dr. Knox: Dr. Shaw is charged with not attending the patients in the hospital.

John Byron, examined by Dr. Knox: Mrs. Hill told me about that. It arose out of the charge o or drunkenness. When I determined to make the charge I don't, remember whether I asked her or whether she told me. She told me on Sunday evening, the 7th, that the doctor had neglected to look at one of the patients. I put that forward as a charge of neglect, because I thought it was his duty to look at and attend to the patients every time he went into the hospital. That is the reason I preferred the charge.
Cross examined by Mr. Morris: The charges were end filed about the 10th May. The present charge is preferred on Mrs. Hill's information. I met her the same evening on the walk. Did she say to you, "The doctor is behaving very badly this evening. He was here drunk, and now I must send for him again?" It was something to that effect.
To Dr. Knox: I can recollect that Mrs. Hill gave me the information voluntarily.

Mrs. Hill, examined by Dr. Knox: I told Mr. Byron that the doctor had neglected to look at some of the patients who were very ill. I said he had visited the hospital, but bad not looked at some of the patients. I was not present when the doctor paid the visit. A man named John Burns told me he had come in and a looked to see if the windows were open. It is not his practices to prescribe at the evening visit unless patients were very ill.
To Mr. Morris: I was called upstairs to see a patient who was very ill, and Burns then told me that the doctor had been in, but had not looked at any of the patients in his ward.

Dr. Shaw examined: I visited the hospital, and asked the nurses if there was anything wrong since the morning and was told there was not. My attention was not drawn to any case. It is not my usual practice to prescribe in the evening. The patients should be prescribed for before twelve o'clock each day. Cunningham recovered. A man named Moles was very ill when he came in, and I did not expect he would recover. I was sent for on that evening to see these men. I came and made no alteration in their treatment. I admit I did not examine or prescribe for the patients in the evening.

A man named William Irwin, whom Dr. Shaw was charged with neglecting, was next examined, and stated that he was ill with fever for several weeks. And during the time he was in hospital he was very well treated. He thought it strange that Dr. Shaw did not speak to him for some days; but he had no complaint to make against the doctor.
Dr. Shaw stated that he examined each patient in the hospital once a day, end oftener if it was required.

Sub Constable Cunningham examined: I was in the fever hospital for a time. I have no complaint to make about the doctor. I could not have been better attended to in hospital. I do not recollect saying to the master that the doctor passed me he without seeing, me.

Dr. Knox said that the next charge was, That Dr. Shaw discharged several boys from the infirmary at the instigation of a nurse named Capper."
John Byron said that the boys told him they bad been discharged without being examined. The boys were from nine to twelve years of age. One of them said that Capper always discharged them.
Dr. Shaw stated that he never discharged any person at the instigation of any of the nurses. Capper had no authority to discharge the boys, and he never did so.
Mr. Byron said that he had bean told by the boys that they were called up and their names read out by Capper, and they were then discharged without being examined by Dr. Shaw.
James Carper, examined: I am a day nurse in the infirmary. I never discharged any of the patients. I have no authority to do so. Dr. Shaw examines and discharges all the patients.

Dr. Knox: The next charge is that Dr. Shaw gave money as a bribe to two nurses.

John Byron stated that Mrs. Hill told him of the the bribery, and also Sarah Balance, and Ann Hamill. He spoke to the women after Mrs. Hill had told him of the circumstance. Balance said. he gave her, sixpence and asked her if she knew what that was for. She said she did not reply. Hamill told him the doctor did not say anything to her but he gave her sixpence at the same time.
Dr. Knox: When did this occur?
Witness: On Monday, the 6th May.
When did you hear about it?
Either on that evening or the next day.
How did it come that Mrs. Hill reported it to you?
She merely mentioned that he had given sixpence each to these women, and she understood that it was a bribe.
Are both these parties nurses in the fever hospital?
They are.
Mr. Morris: Was this about the time you were getting up these charges?
Of course, it was.
Who suggested to you that the money was given for a bribe?
Mrs. Hill.
Did she suggest to you what it was for?
I understood it had reference to the charge of drunkeness.
Did you question these women about it?
I did speak to them about it.
Dr. Knox: What was your object?
Witness: It was to support the charge I intended to bring against the doctor.

Mrs. Hill examined: I told the schoolmaster that the doctor had given sixpence to two of the nurses. I do not recollect telling him anything more. He questioned the parties in the hospital kitchen. I heard of the circumference from William Irwin. Campbell, another nurse, told me that she had got a bribe If the moneys were given, I am not prepared to state that it was a bribe.
Cross-examined by Mr. Haslett: I told Mr. Byron of this when he was getting up the charge against the doctor. I still swear that I was actuated by no ill-feeling towards the doctor.

Sarah Balance examined: Dr. Shaw gave me sixpence on Monday. I think it was the day after the Sunday on which he was alleged to be drunk, He asked me on my oath did he do his duty to the patients. I said nothing in reply. I took the and money. I told Mrs. Hill about it. I could not tell why he gave it to me, indeed. I don't remember saying to any person that it was a bribe.
Cross-examined: He did not say to tell any person about it. Ann Hamill was in the room at the time, and the patients were in the room also.
To Dr. Knox: Mr. Byron questioned me about my child. The doctor had taken it from me to send it to the infirmary. It was ill with measles. He allowed me to go to the infirmary with it on finding that its age was one year and five months. That was the only complaint I made, I stated that he dragged the child from my arms. I would not swear that the child's death was caused by the dragging. I did not say that, and I am sure it was not the case.
To Mr. Haslett: The doctor believed the child was two years old. He said it was old enough to go by itself. I don't remember telling the doctor that I was going to wean the child.
To Dr. Knox: I am still a nurse in the hospital.

Ann Hamill, examined by Dr. Knox: Dr. Shaw gave me sixpence I think, on the 8th of May. It was in one of the wards of the fever hospital. There were Patients there. He just reached it to me and did not say anything. I told Mrs. Hill about it, and I said I did not know what he gave it to me for. No one questioned me about this subject but Mr. Byron. He asked me if I would keep it, and I said I would.
Mr. Morris: I suppose you had no conversation with the doctor since about it?
Witness: I had not.

Eliza Campbell (Pauper Inmate) examined: Dr. Shaw gave me ia shilling in different sums. I at first refused to take it, but I then said that I had heard he was giving money through the house, and I deserved it as wall as any nurse be. I had no conversation as to what I would say here. I did not tell Mrs. Hill or Mr. Byron about it. He alleged no reason for giving it to me. I did not say it was for a bribe. He offered it to me at the door of my own ward.
Dr. Knox: Were you in an empty ward with the doctor that day?
Witness: I was.
Did he offer you any money there in that room?
No; he offered me no money.
Had you any conversation with him?
I had, but I cannot recollect it.
Were you long there?
No. Mrs. Hill was at the door, I think, for she came forward so I went out.
Mr. Morris: Did you shut the door when you went in?
I closed it carelessly behind me.
Did you tell the doctor not to be minding the stories that were going about him?
I did not say anything of the kind.
Dr. Knox: With regard to the surgical instrument, the , who is to be examined? It is alleged that one of the pauper nurses used a certain instrument which should only be used by the doctor.
Mr. Morris: The last witness is the woman who used it, and she may be examined now.
The witness stated that at her own request Dr. Shaw had shown her how to use the instrument in question. She had only used it on two occasions by his express permission. One of the patients was very grateful to her for doing so.

Dr. Shaw, examined by Dr; Knox: I gave the money on the 8th of May. I said nothing to Balance, but told her not to tell the other nurses. I gave sixpence to Hamill also. I am in the habit of giving nurses money I had not given any to these nurses before. Balance and Hamill were doing double duty at that time. I had no conversation about any charges. I gave Campbell a shilling and she thought she should get more. I then gave her three four-penny pieces. She told me she wanted to speak to me, and I said I should not be listening to the stories about Mr. Byron and Miss Hill, but that I should speak to the parties themselves. My sole reason for giving money was for their attention to the sick. I think I gave Campbell money for tobacco once before.

Mr. Morris: You might examine the doctor now about the silver instrument.
Dr. Shaw: What the woman states is correct. I instructed her to use it, and she did use it in the case of a female fever patient named Sabaoth Johnston. The patient got well in about a fortnight and Campbell could use it perfectly well.
Dr. Knox (to Mr. Byron): Who told you about the instrument?
Mr. Byron: Mrs. Hill told me.
Mrs. Hill: Did you not know before I told you?
Mr. Byron: To the best of my knowledge, I did not,
Miss Hill was next examined, and stated that she was present on one occasion when Campbell got the instrument from the doctor.

Dr. Shaw said that in reference to the charge of having dragged a child from its mother's arms which had been partially heard on the previous evening, he wished to explain that be thought the child was weaned. He wished to send it to the infirmary, and the mother did not resist. On a second occasion on which the child was sent to the infirmary he tried to take it from the mother, and she resisted. He then sent for the master to come down and examine the record, in reference to the chllds age. It appeared by the record that the child was one year and seven months old. He used no violence whatever. The child was ill of bronchitis, and in three weeks afterwards it took fever.

Isabella Gribben (pauper nurse), examined: I know Sarah Balance. She had a child ill of bronchitis. The doctor wanted to send it to the infirmary. He did not drag it from her the first time on which he proposed to send it to the infirmary. He did not attempt to take it forcibly the second time. He told me to take it to the infirmary. He did not touch the child on either occasions. He could not have done so without my seeing him.
To Mr. Watson: I did not use any violence.
Mr. Byron: I think the doctor himself stated that he did put his hand to the child.
Dr. Knox: Well, the evidence is here for the Commissioners.
(To Dr. Shaw) In each of the cases, doctor, you will be kind enough to give me a list of the prescriptions in the case of the patients who it is alleged were neglected.
Dr. Shaw: Oh, yes, Sir.

Dr. Knox: The next charge is for having permitted one of the nurses to give out laudanum.

Mrs. Hill (infirmary nurse), examined by Dr. Shaw: Miss M'Niece is the infirmary nurse. I don't recollect telling Mr. Byron anything about one of the nurses having laudanum. I told him that I had got laudanum from Miss M'Niece I got it in the surgery. Sometimes the doctor was there, and sometimes he was not. I got it in quantities, not as a prescription. I gave it in draughts, by the doctor's orders. He gave me a general order to administer it to any of the patients who required it. It was always kept locked. I gave from thirty to eighty drops in draughts.
Mr. Byron: You might ask her from what part of the surgery Miss M'Niece got the laudanum.
Witness: Sometimes from an open shelf, and sometimes it was under lock and key.
To Mr. Watson: Miss M'Niece had the key of the the press where the laudanum was kept?
To Dr. Knox: Some odd times Miss M'Niece made up prescriptions for me when the doctor was not present.
Dr. Knox: Did you ever get spirits of wine from her?
Witness: I did.
Mr. Haslett: Was it always in cases of emergency that you got the prescriptions.
Witness: It was.
You, won't swear that Dr. Shaw was not present when you got the laudanum?
I got it sometimes in his absence. I sent my daughter for it on one occasion.
Dr. Knox: Didn't you see the doctor every day?
I did.
Mr. Haslett: When did you send your daughter for the laudanum?
It was on a Sunday.
Did you not state on your examination before the Guardians that it was on a Monday?
I did, but I was confused then and did not understand the charge.
Dr. Knox: Do you know anything about any person compounding medicine in the surgery?
I have seen James Capper in the surgery.
What did you see him do?
I have seen him frequently compounding medicine in a mortar.
You never saw him giving any of it to any of the patients?
No, Sir.
You never reported or mentioned, it to any one?
Did Mr. Byron ever speak to you about it?
He did.
Before he gave in his charges to the Board of Guardians.
Mr. Haslett: Where did he speak to you about it?
I do not remember.
Was it in the hospital kitchen?
I could not say.
Miss Hill, examined by Dr. Knox: I have got medicine in the surgery in Dr. Shaw's absence. I got laudanum from Miss M'Niece once. She gave me a two ounce bottle full in her own room. My mother sent me for it as she bad none of her own. Miss M'Niece went into the surgery, and she gave me the laudanum when she came out.
Cross-examined by Mr. Haslett: My mother told me to go to Miss M'Niece for the laudanum. I did not know whether the doctor was present then.

Dr. Knox: You have heard this charge, Dr. Shaw. What explanation have you to offer?
Dr. Shaw: Miss M'Niece had a supply of laudanum for her own patients. I did not know that Mrs. Hill had got laudanum until the 11th May. I had frequently told Mrs. Hill to go to Miss M'Nicce if her own stock should fail. I always keep the key of the laudanum. The apothecary sometimes left the door open, and I spoke to him about it. Miss M'Niece has a key of the surgery, but I keep the key of the locker where the poisonous medicines are kept.
Mr. Watson: Neither Miss M Niece nor any other person has access to that looker?
Dr. Shaw: No.
Mr. Byron: You might ask him if Miss M'Niece carried any keys belonging to any of the inside as presses in the surgery.
Dr. Knox: What keys has she?
Dr. Shaw: She has a key for the outer surgery, and also for a store room adjoining it.
Why had she those keys?
In accordance with a resolution of the Board.
Dr. Knox: Read that resolution.
The Clerk: It is dated 29th December, 1859. "Resolved That the key of the surgery be entrusted to the infirmary nurse during the doctor's absence, the poisons to be locked up by the doctor."
Mr. Byron: I wish to ask if Miss M'Niece carried any key belonging to an inside press in the surgery?
Dr. Shaw: She does not. She has no keys belonging to any of the presses.
To Mr. Haslett: A hamper of medicines came on Saturday evening between seven and eight o'clock. Charles Magee

Ellen M'Niece, examined by Dr. Knox: I have a key for the surgery, but not for the press where the poisons are kept. I have often got laudanum in the surgery.
Was the doctor there when you got it?
The doctor gave it to me.
Did you ever get any when the doctor was not there?
Just once. I don't remember getting it any oftener. I have some laudanum in my own room.
Who gave you that?
Dr. Shaw.
What do you do with it?
I give draughts when they are required.
By the doctor's orders?
Do you recollect giving Miss Hill some laudanum?
I gave her some on Sunday evening, the 7th May.
What time was it? It was about eight o'clock.
Where did you get the laudanum?
In the surgery.
How did you know it was there?
I went to look for it.
What is the largest dose of laudanum you have given?
I have given forty drops. I don't remember ever giving a larger dose.
Where did you keep your stock of laudanum?
In a press in my own room.
Is the press looked?
It is.
No one could have access to it?
No one but myself.
Mr. Byron wished to know whether the witness had ever given any laudanum to Mrs. Hill.
Dr. Knox: Did you?
Witness: I don't remember, but I might have done so.
Mr. Byron: Did she ever give any spirits of wine.
Witness: I don't remember.
Mr. Byron: There is a charge against Dr. Shaw of having allowed paupers to compound medicine. Perhaps this witness might know something of that?
Dr. Knox: Did you ever see any of the nurses compounding medicine?
Witness: I heard the doctor telling a nurse named Capper to put some ingredients of medicine into a mortar.
Did you ever see Capper compounding medicines?
I saw him compounding itch ointment.
Did he ever give you any medicine in the doctor's absence?
Mr. Byron: Is the inside door of the surgery always kept locked?
It is, so far as I know.
Is there only one key for the surgery?
Dr. Shaw: I have a key.
Mr. Byron: I have sometimes went in there myself.
Dr. Shaw: Oh, I have often left the door open.
Dr. Knox: What were you doing there, may I ask?
Mr. Byron: I went in for books and weekly returns.
Dr. Knox: Who owned the books?
Mr. Byron: The master.
Mr. Donaldson: It is a mistake, Sir; the books belonged to the doctor.
Mr. Haslett: Did you ever send Mr. Byron there Mr. Donaldson.
I send for the returns, as I require to see them. I may have sent Mr. Byron.
Dr. Knox: I think he had no business there. It is a bad arrangement.

Miss Hill examined: I have seen Capper compounding medicines in the surgery. I could not say what kind of medicines. Sometimes the doctor was present.
Was he not always present?
No. Sir.
Did you ever go for medicines that Capper compounded?
Not unless when the doctor was there.
How did you happen to be in the surgery?
I went for medicines for the fever hospital.
Mr. Byron: Would you ask her if ever she saw Capper put the medicines he compounded into bottles?
Witness: I did. I have seen him take the ingredients out of large bottles and put them in a mortar.
Dr. Knox: Can you tell what the ingredients were?
I cannot.
Did you ever mention having seen Capper do this?
I told Mr. Byron.
On the 8th or 9th of May.
But not before that?
No, Sir.
How often did you see Capper compound medicines.
Almost every week since I came here.
How long are you here?
About twelve months.
Did you tell Mr. Byron voluntarily or did he ask you?
He asked me.
Before you told him?
Did he say why he asked you?
No, Sir.
Did you know why?
I did not.
Was it always the same kind of medicine that you saw Capper compounding?
No, Sir, it was not; I knew by the colour.
Mr. Haslett: How often did Capper hand you medicine?
Very often.
Did he compound by the doctor's directions?
I don't know.
You swear that you did not know why Mr. Byron asked you about the matter?
I thought he might be going to report the doctor, but I did not know.

James Capper, examined by Dr. Knox: I am day nurse in the male infirmary. I attendin Dr. Shaw's surgery in the mornings to bring in water, or anything else he may require. I cannot get in when he is not there. I never compounded any medicine in the surgery except cough mixture, consisting of treacle, chalk, and water. I have also compounded itch ointment. The cough mixture I make is white. When the treacle and water is mixed it is of a brownish colour. The ointment is white.
Have you ever mixed up these things in the doctor's absence?
No, Sir.
Did you ever give medicine to any one in the doctor's absence?
No, Sir.
Did you ever go into the surgery when the doctor was not there?
I have went with Miss M'Niece to carry medicines to the infirmary for her.
Mr. Byron: You might ask him, Sir, if he ever got any pass keys to open any of the doors.
Witness: I have no key for any apartment in the workhouse.

Dr. Shaw Examined: Capper mixes treacle and water for me. I give him some gum, sugar, and other articles sometimes to put in a mortar, and he mixes them up with water. He makes up the ointment for me, but I put in the ingredients. I think sometimes he has weighed lard for medicine in my presence, and I have given him senna to boil down. I weighed the senna myself before I gave it to him. He occasionally hands out the medicines which I make up, but always in my presence.

Dr. Knox: I think all the witnesses are now examined with reference to each charge.
Mr. Haslett: I think so, Sir.
Mr. Byron: I have no more.
Dr. Knox: Someone said that the clerk saw Dr. Shaw on the days on which it is alleged he was drunk. Perhaps it might be as well to examine him with reference to that charge.
Mr. Haslett: Very well, Sir.

James Ruddell (clerk), examined by Dr. Knox: I remember Monday, the 8th May. I had a conversation with Dr. Shaw on that day between three and four o'clock. He came up to the Board-room to rectify an error in one of his weekly returns. I had no conversation with him in reference to the charge made against him. I have known Dr. Shaw for many years. I am quite certain he was sober when I saw him. I did not observe whether his breath was affected by whisky. I noticed him coming up the walk, and I did not see him stagger. His speech was not affected, and I saw nothing strange in his manner. My assistant, Alex. Collins, was present at the time.
Mr. Haslett: Did you ever see Dr. Shaw under the influence of drink during the time that he has been in the workhouse?
No, Sir; I never did.
Did you know of the schoolmaster having any ill-feeling against the doctor?
I did not.
Dr. Knox: Have you yourself any feeling either for or against Dr. Shaw or Mr. Byron?
I have not.

Mr. Byron said he had another charge to bring forward, namely, that the surgery door was left open in the mornings.
Ellen M'Niece stated that the surgery was left open in order that it might be cleaned before Dr. Shaw came.

Compiled by Ken Austin


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