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

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Hackney 1860

[Report of the Medical Officer of Health for Hackney]

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viz.:—211 or 137 per cent., of the total mortality, against 109
per cent, in 1857, 12.4 per cent, in 1858, and 14.0 per cent, in
1859. In my last Annual Report I pointed out the great increase
in the mortality from these affections, arising, as I believe, partly
from the present system of education, but chiefly from the mode of
conducting professional and other business. The next class in
order of fatality is that in which deaths from wear and tear of
system and general loss of vitality (grouped together under the
term old age) are placed. There is no doubt but that only
a comparatively small number of the 109 deaths registered
as arising from old age, really resulted from unavoidable wear
and tear alone; but that on the contrary, degeneration of organs
arising, to a considerable extent, from causes over which individuals
have a decided control, must have been in existence to have
caused death. The general tendency of propej sanitary precautions
undoubtedly is to prevent many of the chronic and some of
the acute diseases, which carry off mankind prematurely, and
therefore it is to be expected, that the average age at death will
be considerably higher than it was before the introduction of the
Metropolis Local Management Act. The action of these causes
is, however, not likely to be perceived in this division of the
Register for many years ; indeed we find that the per centages
vary very little in the different years, as 7" 1 per cent, were registered
in 1860; 6.8 per cent, in 1859; 7-l per cent, in 1858; and
7-2 per cent, in 1857. Diseases of the heart were fatal to 97 persons
or 6.3 per cent.; deaths from violence and accidents to 76 or 4.9
per cent. It is very much to be regretted, that deaths from these
latter causes are much on the increase in the Metropolis and that
Hackney has participated in that increase; for no less than
76 deaths, or nearly 5 per cent., were thus registered in 1860,
against 3 per cent, in 1859; 2.4 per cent, in 1858 ; and 2.8 per
cent, in 1857. This increase in deaths from violence and accidents
is chiefly attributable to burns—the result of wearing crinoline;
to drowning in the River Lea; and to suffocation of infants
in bed. The number of deaths from the last-named cause
is very much above the average, and, it is to be hoped, that some
alteration in the laws will speedily be made to check for the