We deeply regret to record that, by a fatal mistake, the lives of three patients have been lost at the Burntwood Asylum. By the report of the coroner's inquest it appears that on June 3rd draughts of chloral and potassium bromide had been prepared for six female patients, but Dr. Farquharson, having been called away whilst dispensing them, most unfortunately used a concentrated instead of a diluted solution contained in similar bottles, with the result that each patient got 240 grains of chloral. Three of the patients died. The jury returned a verdict of “death from misadventure,” and recommended that bottles containing poison should be made more distinguishable from others in the surgery, the foreman expressing their deep sympathy with the relatives and with Dr. Spence and the staff of the Asylum in the sad occurrence. One of the relatives of the deceased, speaking for himself and others similarly bereaved, thereafter stated that he had perfect confidence in Dr. Spence, and testified to the kindness with which patients were treated by him and his staff. He also expressed his sympathy with Dr. Farquharson in the extremely painful position in which he had been placed. It is some consolation that the record of years of beneficent work outweighed the disaster of a moment in the minds of the public, as represented by the coroner's jury, and especially that the afflicted relatives of the deceased felt constrained in their sorrow to give expression to sentiments of esteem and sympathy. Such a result cannot but be helpful in encouraging us to renewed efforts to do our very best in the high calling which it is our privilege to follow.
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