Considerable sensation was caused at Rushden by the death, which took place on Monday evening, under peculiar circumstances, of Miss Mary Ann Layram, aged 22, the daughter of Mr. George Layram, of Bayes’s-yard, Wellingborough-road, Rushden. It appears that the deceased returned home on the evening of Nov. 24 and said she had had four teeth taken out. She was “all of a tremble.” She went to work, however, as usual until the following Tuesday, when she complained of pains in the head, and a doctor was sent for. A post mortem examination revealed the fact that death was due to septic meningitis.
was held in the Council Chambers, Rushden, on Wednesday morning by the Deputy Divisional Coroner (Mr. J. Cairns Parker). The jurymen numbered 15, and Mr. T. Swindall was chosen foreman.
The Coroner said they had to inquire into the death of Mary Ann Layram. It appeared that on Nov. 24 the deceased went to a man who was practising as a dentist, or called himself a dentist, and had four teeth extracted. She was at work for the next five or six days, and then she was taken suddenly ill. A doctor was called in and he attended her up to her death.
George Layram, Bayes’s-yard, Wellingborough-road, Rushden, general labourer, identified the body as that of his daughter, aged 22. Continuing, witness said: She was a machinist. On Nov. 24 I remember my daughter having some teeth out. She did not tell me she was going to have them out. She told me, when she came home about 7.15 p.m., that she had had four teeth out. She said she was
“All of a Tremble.”
She washed her mouth out with some warm water, and I made her a cup of tea, of which she drank about half. She did not have anything to eat and she then went to bed. She went to work up to the following Tuesday. On Sunday she complained of a bad head and throat. When she came home on Tuesday she said “I do not think I shall be able to go to work to-morrow.” She got up the next day but did not go to work. She did not go to bed properly until Friday, but she complained of her head and throat all the while. She did not have any solid food at all. The doctor was sent for on Friday, and he attended her up to her death, which took place on Monday at 6.30.
The Coroner: Did she go straight from her work to the dentist? Yes.
The next witness was Cyril N. Seedhouse, dental operator.
The Coroner: You are not qualified?
Witness: No. I reside at 65, Abington-street, Northampton, and practice for Mr. Airlie, of Northampton. I visit Rushden. I recognise the deceased; she came to me on Nov. 24, and asked me to
Extract Four Teeth.
The Coroner: From what part of the mouth did you extract them?
Witness: I think from the upper jaw, so far as I can remember, but I cannot say which side.
Replying to further questions, witness said he injected a one per cent. solution of cocaine, and he gave her 32 minims in four injections.
Continuing, witness said: The syringe is always sterilised with boiling water and carbolic acid before use. It was sterilised before use on that occasion I am certain of it. I had no trouble in extracting the teeth; they came out cleanly. There was one per cent. of carbolic acid to the water I gave her to wash her mouth out with. One of the teeth discharged. I remember telling her she had a very unpleasant mouth.
The Coroner: Why did not you pass your examination?
Witness: Because we are allowed to practice without passing an examination by decision of the House of Lords.
Dr. Greenfield, of Rushden, said : On Friday, Dec. 1, I was called to see the deceased. I examined her and found she had been suffering from a very sore mouth, and very foul breath and she had been unable to take her food. She was very weak and feverish. The whole of the inside of the mouth was quite white. I came to the conclusion that she was suffering from septic infection following the extraction of teeth. I attended her right up to her death. I was not quite satisfied as to the cause of death; I made a post-mortem examination. As regards the state of the mouth, the jaw was full of old black stumps of decayed teeth. On the left side of the upper jaw were three holes, where teeth had been removed, and there was bare bone at the bottom. There was no damage to the jaw, but the mouth ought to have been healed up. I examined the brain, and found that round the lower part there were evidences of
Death was due to septic meningitis. There was an entrance of germs probably from the teeth; I cannot say for certain.
Replying to the Coroner, Dr. Greenfield said that the antiseptic administered to the deceased was proper, so far as he knew.
The Coroner: Could you say that when she had the teeth taken out she was in a fit state to have that operation performed? I cannot say.
Mr. Seedhouse asked the doctor if it was not more likely that the poison was caused by the deceased putting her fingers into her mouth after handling leather after the teeth had been extracted. She came to him direct from the factory.
Dr. Greenfield: It might have been, if she did so.
Summing up, the Coroner said that the deceased had a perfect right to go where she wanted to have her teeth out, but what they must consider was whether Mr. Seedhouse acted negligently, and whether he should have at that time taken upon himself the responsibility of a dentist.
The jury considered in privacy for about 15 minutes, after which the foreman announced that they had come to the decision that death was due to septic meningitis caused by the septic state of the mouth after teeth extraction; and also that there was no neglect on the part of the operator.