South Australia - Health
- Influenza and Colds
- General Health Matters
- Food Adulteration
- Infant Paralysis
- Public Health
- Smallpox and Vaccination
- Social Diseases
- Infant Mortality
- Medical Professions
- Flying Doctors
- Lodges and the Medical Profession
(Taken from Geoffrey H. Manning's A Colonial Experience)This disease took the lives of many children in the nineteenth century and during the 1850s it was called 'diphtherite'; in 1859, a grieving mother set down the symptoms of this disease which proved fatal to her daughter within forty-eight hours:
First, the throat is a little inflamed and can be perceived when they swallow anything. A few hours later a little white spot gathers on either side of the throat, which gradually increases until it chokes up the windpipe... If the white spot gets a good hold it is nearly impossible to save children...
The Editor commented that 'as this disease has occasionally manifested itself in the colony before' he reproduced a letter which appeared originally in the London Times. It included an alleged cure:
Chlorine gas, administered in doses of from five to 20 minims of a saturated solution, in an ounce of water, with a little syrup added seems to exert a most beneficial influence on the march and progress of the disease... The external treatment consists in the application of sinapisms, vinegar toasts, or spirits of turpentine, by means of a warm flannel.
Dr H.T. Whittel, of Adelaide, cautioned readers and declared that 'prescriptions in newspapers are not generally of value.' He went on:
If, however, the non-medical public can do little in the way of treatment they can do much in the way of precaution... I would strongly advise - 1st. A more than common attention to the due ventilation of sleeping and other rooms. 2nd. An avoidance as much as possible of exposure to the cold night air...
The years rolled by and diphtheria continued to kill the children of South Australia and in 1885 another 'cure' was propounded; it was claimed that it issued from a doctor in Victoria, where it had been used 'with great success':
Take of compound tincture of cinchona bark 1½ ounces, chlorate of potash 2 drachms, aromatic spirit of ammonia 3 drachms, syrup of ginger 1 ounce, sufficient distilled water to make 12 ounces of this mixture. Dose for an adult, a large tablespoonful every second hour; of course a smaller dose for children.
Dr Whittel became Chairman of the Central Board of Health in the 1880s and was to report that in 1883 there had been 1,627 infant deaths, a rate of 145 deaths in the first year for every 1,000 live births.
A letter in respect of "diptherite" - "said to have been somewhat prevalent in Adelaide" - is in the Register,
10 May 1858, page 3f; also see
20, 23, 28 and 29 July 1859, pages 3b, 3b, 2h and 3a,
24 September 1859, page 4f,
5 February 1861, page 3d and
29 July 1859, page 2f,
3, 6 and 17 August 1859, pages 2e, 2f and 2e.
A remedy for diphtheria is in the Advertiser,
5 September 1865, page 3c,
18 June 1870, page 2g,
21 November 1873, page 2d,
8 April 1875, page 2h,
19 April 1882 (supp.), page 2a and
7 May 1885, page 7d,
4 September 1886, page 31b,
15 October 1888, page 7e,
23 November 1894, page 4g; also see
5 July 1895, page 4h,
3 and 24 march 1894, pages 5d and 19e.
"Sulphur a Remedy for Diphtheria" is in the Advertiser,
21 July 1868, page 3a,
"A Remedy for Diphtheria" in the Observer,
29 April 1882, page 13b.
The disease is discussed in the Advertiser,
2 September 1886, page 6d,
6 June 1891, page 4d,
"The Diphtheria Treatment" on
7 May 1896, page 4g; also see
8 September 1900, page 4e.
"The New Remedy for Diphtheria" is in the Register,
8 January 1895, page 4g,
8 March 1895, page 5c,
2 February 1895, page 16b; also see
7 May 1910, page 45c.
"The Diphtheria Enquiry" is in the Register,
15 July 1909, page 4d.
"A Diphtheria Outbreak" is in the Advertiser,
31 July 1909, page 15d,
19 May 1916, page 4h,
26 May 1922, page 7e,
3 June 1922, page 37a,
"Diphtheria Control" in the Advertiser,
24 March 1922, page 10a.
"Diphtheria - Its History, Prevention and Cure" is in the Register on
6 February 1928, page 9f,
"Diphtheria Under Control" in the Advertiser,
24 August 1932, page 8h.
"The Diphtheria Danger" is in the Register,
20 November 1923, page 8e,
"Diphtheria - Its Prevention and Cure" on
6 February 1928, page 9f.
"Doctors Winning War on Diphtheria" is in The News,
22 May 1933, page 4f.
"Diphtheria Spreading" is in the Advertiser,
30 June 1933, page 21c,
"Campaign Against Diphtheria" on
7 December 1935, page 19h,
23 October 1936, page 21d.
"Prevention of Diphtheria" is in the Advertiser,
6 February 1937, page 24b; also see
26, 28 and 30 July 1937, pages 17f, 20d and 27d,
23 October 1937, page 24a.
"Should a Man's Life Be Saved Against His Will" is in the Register,
17 August 1897, page 4g.
A comment on euthanasia under the heading "Is Killing Sometimes Kind" is in the Register, 18 March 1902, page 4d:
The disposition to cling tenaciously to life so long as even the smallest spark of it remains has always been encouraged by social and religious sanction, though arrogance on a matter of this kind has in recent years been mitigated.
"Merciful Murder - Is Euthanasia Practised?" is in the Advertiser,
1 April 1905, page 8c,
"The Right to Die" on
23 September 1912, page 8d.
"Killing the Incurable" is in the Express,
14 March 1906, page 3g.
"Euthanasia" is discussed in the Advertiser,
14 June 1919, page 8f and
24 August 1935, page 18e.
"Should Death be Hastened" is in the Advertiser,
27 October 1930, page 12b; also see
22 October 1931, page 9e,
7 November 1931, page 14e,
1 December 1931, page 18h.