Punch, 46 (1864), 139.
Thame County Court Law
Medical Treatment, Medical Practitioners, Human Development, Politics, Crime, Commerce
Addressed to John B Parry, the judge in the case of W G Walker versus Thame Poor Law Union. Walker, a medical district officer for the Thame Poor Law Union, had sought remuneration from his employers for his attendance in 'seven cases of childbirth'. The board denied payment of his claim and Walker sought clarification as to whether he had to 'attend to the orders' of the 'overseers' in such cases. The narrator criticises the judge's assessment of which midwifery cases count as being of 'sudden and urgent necessity' (as opposed to 'ordinary' cases), which are the only ones for which the judge thinks the Thame Poor Law Union are 'liable' to pay Walker. Notes Walker's protest that he is not able to ascertain beforehand whether he is to get paid for a midwifery case, and wonders how severe a case has to be before the judge considered it urgent, and points out that most cases prompting the call 'Run for the doctor' would not be considered urgent by the judge. Concludes by discussing the harsh attitude of a jury towards a doctor who, having inadvertently allowed a pauper patient to die, claimed that he was following the judge's incorrect assumption that the case was not sufficiently urgent to demand the doctor's attention.
© Science in the Nineteenth-Century Periodical Project, Universities of Leeds and Sheffield, 2005-07
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