KEW ASYLUM ADMINISTRATION.
ALLEGATIONS AGAINST DOCTOR.
Sensational evidence was given before Mr. A. A. Kelley, P.M., who sat at the Kew Asylum yesterday as a Royal commis- sion to inquire into allegations made by members of the staff against the junior medical officer (Dr. R. S. Ellery) of mal-
administration and cruelty to patients. It was alleged that Dr. Ellery had extracted teeth in the open without anæsthetics,and had "experimented" upon unwilling patients to demonstrate the use of surgical instruments to nurses.
Mr. Kelley was assisted by the assistant Crown solicitor (Mr. F. G. Menzies). Mr. F. Brennan appeared for the Mental Hos- pital Employeees' Association, and Mr. R. G. Menzies for Dr. Ellery. Before taking evi- dence Mr. Kelley inspected the idiot sec- tion of the asylum. Mr. Brennan explained that a personal attack upon Dr. Ellery was not intended. He was concerned only with the administration of the asylum in the public interest.
The inspector-general of the insane (Dr.
William Ernest Jones) said:-An inquiry was held by me on August 6, 14, and 21 into allegations made against Dr. Ellery. A letter was sent to me, signed by E. E.
McDuff, an attendant. It had been sent to Mr. McCallum asking for an immediate inquiry into the alleged maladministration of Dr. Ellery, who was also accused of cruelty to patients. McCallum said that McDuff represented 40 attendants, and that the letter was sent on their behalf.
Mr. Brennan. - Was Dr. Ellery's evi- dence given on oath at this inquiry?
Examined by Mr. F. Menzies, Dr. Joseph Thomas Hollow, medical superintendent at the Kew Asylum, said:-I have the general supervision and control of the asylum, and am in charge of 269 attendants and 1, 255 patients. Dr. Ellery has charge of the idiot section. He consults me when he thinks it necessary in matters of adminis- tration. Dr. Ellery is responsible for the general routine and generally treats the patients. He is most enthusiastic and energetic.
Mr. F. Menzies. - With reference to the treatment of patients, would you know of the circumstances except through Dr. Ellery?
Witness.-Not so far as routine treat- ment is concerned. If the treatment were objected to, however, it would be placed
How often do you inspect the asylum?- As often as necessary.
How often do the official visitors visit you? - Regularly once a quarter. On other occasions they make surprise visits.
They have paid 18 visits this year.
When you accompanied them, were any complaints made by attendants"-I do not think so.
Is any special opportunity given to at- tendants to air their grievances? - When- ever there is a personal grievance they have
never hesitated to tell me.
Have any complaints been made to you concerning the conduct of Dr. Ellery?-None.
When did you become aware that com- plaints were being made against Dr. Ellery? -In July.
How? - Anonymous letters were sent to Dr. Jones.
Have they been traced? - Not to my knowledge.
What limits are placed upon Dr Ellery in the treatment of patients? - Matters
are left to his discretion.
If Dr. Ellery were disposed to experiment upon patients he would be free to do so?- Yes: but he would be expected to be rea- sonably discreet in any matter outside ordinary routine.
Has he applied to you with regard to experiments he has been making in the treatment of epilepsy? - Yes: he reported that he was using a special method.
Did he tell you that he was giving demon- strations on patients to nurses? - Yes: it was a part of his duties.
A careless operation might have fatal results? - It is one of the simplest opera-
Did Dr. Ellery report that he was ex- perimenting with a hypodermic injection to allay excitement? - No. He suggested that a patient should be placed in seclu- sion, and I suggested that the injection should be made.
This method causes vomiting. Has it been used before? - No; it is a matter of preference. Dr. Ellery found the treat- ment exceedingly useful and harmless and there are practically no after-effects.
Did Dr. Ellery ever tell you that he had threatened patients "with the needle"?- No.
If he were a dangerous experimenter would you have any check upon him?— No. The consent of the patients may be disregarded. The end may justify the means.
Did this end justify the means?—Yes.
Extraction of Sound Teeth
Would you approve of the extraction of sound teeth to prevent a patient from tear- ing his clothes? — I would. One must consider all the circumstances, such as the welfare of the patient. In some cir- cumstances it is the only method.
Could you not have used a straight- jacket? — That would not prevent him from tearing his clothes. Sound teeth are removed for other reasons, forthe passage of food, for instance.
No Sanitary Precautions
Clarice Katharine Murtagh, a nurse of [15?] years' service was examined on the question of the extraction of patients' teeth. She said:—At Dr. Ellery's instruc- tions I extracted a tooth from a patient,
and attempted to extract another, but failed.
Witness.—In the airing court in the play ground.
What preceded your attempt to extract these teeth? — Dr. Ellery said that he had only recently learned to extract teeth and would show me how to do it.
What was the condition ot the teeth? The first was a bad tooth.
On how many patients did Dr. Ellery operate? — On six or seven. He extracted
about 12 teeth.
What sanitary precautions were taken?— Absolutely none.
Continuing her evidence, witness said:— There was no warm water or steriliser used. Dr. Ellery did not use antiseptic gauze while I was present. He drew top and bottom teeth with one instrument. I had never before extracted a tooth, and the whole proceeding frightened the occu- pants of the airing court. There is a dental hospital, and it seemed strange that Dr. Ellery should extract teeth in the open with only one pair of forceps.
To Mr. R . G. Menzies, witness said that she did not know that Dr. Ellery had
pressed for the establishment of a dental hospital.
Do you suggest that cruelty was prac- tised? — It was cruel and unhygenic.
Why? — There was neither anaesthetic
Do you suggest that sound teeth were extracted? — I would not say that no good tcoth were extracted.
Did you remonstrate with Dr. Ellery? — No. I am frightened of him; in fact, we all are. Moreover, it is useless for one person to make complaint here.
If it were sworn that the forceps were wiped on an antiseptic pad? — I would say that it was an absolute lie!
To Mr. F. Menzies. — The operations were crude and cruel.
Florence May Burke, nurse, said:—Dr. Ellery extracted teeth for about six patients. So far us I know there was no cause to draw the teeth. He had three pairs of forceps, but no steriliser, anti- septic, or warm water. Dr. Ellery drew some teeth to show me how. I then drew some. They were neither sound nor very decided. No serious septic development followed in any case.
Referring to the hypodermic syringe,
witness said:—I have seen Dr. Ellery use
the "needle." A patient had been refrac- tory, and was locked in the "single room."
Dr. Ellery gave her an injection. When he did so he said that he had not seen it given to a patient before, but that he had seen it given to a dog. The patient vomited for 10 minutes and seemed to be- come very weak for a couple of hours. I have also seen an instrument used on patients. Two or three of them resisted.
The operation was performed three times on one patient. The patients showed signs of pain when the operations were being
performed and one cried out. On the
following day the patients complained of