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

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Harrow 1949

[Report of the Medical Officer of Health for Harrow]

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Maternal Mortality. The total maternal mortality rate includes all
deaths of women primarily due to or associated with pregnancy or childbirth,
expressed as a rate per 1,000 live and stillbirths registered in the year.
In 1949 there were 5 deaths, this giving a maternal mortality
rate of 1.6. The first fatality of the year was haemorrhage following a
ruptured ectopic gestation. Two deaths were the result of haemorrhage
due to placenta prævia, caesarean section being carried out in both. The
other two deaths were the result of eclampsia which in each case set
in some time after delivery.
Deaths from Accidents. There were 53 deaths (26 male and
27 female) from violent causes during the year. Of these, 13 (5 male
and 8 female) were the result of road traffic accidents.
Falls of the elderly accounted for 15 (3 male and 12 female). Many
of these were the result of a fall or a trip which caused a broken leg,
death resulting from the subsequent hypostatic pneumonia.
Seven males and 2 females were drowned and 3 men died on the
railway. Coal-gas poisoning caused the death of 6 (3 of each sex) and
other poisoning 5. Two deaths were of children, a boy of three being
burned and a girl of five being killed on the road.
Deaths from Suicide. Six men and eight women committed
suicide, one of the men and three of the women chose poisoning by coal
gas. Two men and two women hanged themselves. The incidence
was fairly even throughout the year.
Deaths from Cancer. Cancer and other malignant diseases are
responsible for about 15 per cent. of the deaths; of fatalities amongst
those dying between the ages of 60 and 70, one-fifth are due to cancer.
Out of 1,890 local deaths, 344 (166 male and 178 female) were due
to cancer or other malignant disease, a percentage of 18. Diseases
of the respiratory organs were commonest amongst males (bronchus 26,
and lung 16), the next most frequent site being the stomach (28). Primary
growths in the large intestine accounted for 17, and in the rectum for
15 deaths. Amongst females, the commonest site was the breast (29); the
lesions of the other reproductive organs accounted for 37 deaths, the uterus
being the primary site in 23 and the ovary in 14. The large intestine
(28 cases) was the second most commonly affected site, accounting for
many more deaths among females than among males, whereas lesions of
the other parts of the intestinal tract (stomach 21 and rectum 14) were
less common, as were also the lesions of the respiratory tract (lungs 3
and bronchus 8).
Twelve deaths of males were the result of malignant disease of the
prostate ; these are independent of the many deaths which occur amongst
elderly males as the result of non-malignant enlargement of this gland.
Deaths from Infectious Diseases. The number of local deaths
from the various infections compared favourably with the rates of the
country as a whole, the rates per 1,000 population for whooping cough of
under 0.01, for tuberculosis 0.26, and influenza under 0.06, all being
lower than the corresponding national rates of 0.01, 0.45, and 0.15. The
death rate from enteritis and diarrhoea in those under two years of age
at 0.6 per 1,000 total births was lower than the rate of 3.0 for England
and Wales.