London's Pulse: Medical Officer of Health reports 1848-1972

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Islington 1896

Forty-first annual report on the health and sanitary condition of the Parish of St. Mary, Islington

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stated that he walked out “because his medical advisers told him
that he would not get well until he got out.”
Just as he was getting well case 264 took ill (June 22nd), and on
the date of your medical officer's visit (July 8th) the pustules on his
face had nearly dried up, and he was nearly convalescent. This case
had also been diagnosed as Chicken Pox.
It is much to be wondered at that more cases were not propagated
by these persons, for in the first place case 262 kept a newspaper and
tobacco shop, and was, therefore, in close touch with the public at the
time she was nursing her husband. There can be very little doubt, but
that it was at her shop the cases reported from Keighly contracted
Small Pox, for "The Favorite" P.H. is only a few doors away, and it
is, therefore, more than likely that these people visited it. I have been
unable to trace any other cases to this source of infection, although one
cannot help wondering if case 239 contracted the infection here, as the
shop was partitioned so as to make two shops, one of which was a
bootmaker's, at which case 264 worked.
At first your medical officer felt inclined to blame the doctors in
attendance on these people for failing to diagnose the disease, but when
he recollected that very few medical men when students ever see, or
have the opportunity of seeing, cases of Small Pox, he was obliged to
look on their error in a more lenient light.
This blot on medical training should be removed by the Medical
Council making some rule by which students should be compelled to
produce certificates, showing that they had seen a certain number of
cases of this disease, before being allowed to proceed for their
In the Fourth Quarter no case of Small Pox was reported, which
was without doubt due to the energetic manner in which it had been
combatted in the previous three months.