A CHEMST SUED.
VERDICT FOR THE DEFENDANT.
SEVERE REMARKS FROM THE
A case of much interest to chemists
occupied the attention of Messrs. J. H. Sinclair, S.M., J. Luxton, and F. King at the Port Adelaide Local Court on Monday. Mary Emma Eickhoff, repre- sented by Mr. R. G. Nesbit, claimed £100 damages and , £30 .19/6 special damages from W. H. Porter, chemist, of Port Ade- laide. The claim set out that on about March 15. 1913. the plaintiff ordered from the defendant a lotion to be prepared in accordance with a prescription that the defendant (or'his servant) negligently and carelessly gave her a lotion which was not prepared according to the prescrip- tion; that as a result the plaintiff suf- fered much physical pain and severe in- juries. Mr. E. E. Cleland, K.C., appeared for the defendant, who denied the alle- gations.
Mr. Nesbit stated that in July last his client was suffering from varicose trouble in one of her legs. She was attended by Dr. Benson, who prescribed a lotion. She tried this constantly from July 16 to March 15 this year. On the latter date she sent her granddaughter to Mr. Por- ter;s chemist shop to obtain a bottle of the lotion, but as a result of its applica- tion she suffered severe pain.
Dr. Percy Bollen, Semaphore, said he examined the plaintiff's leg on May 18, when there were several ulcers on the front of the shin and near the ankle. They could have been The result of the external application of an irritant fluid. He considered it probable that the ulcers were not caused by the disease. The con- dition of the leg would cause much pain, and would interfère with plaintiff's sleep. He had seen the plaintiff five times, and would have to continue attending her probably for six weeks. By Mr. Cle- land-The dye of a stocking might cause the ulcers. A bottle partly filled with lotion was shown to him by the plaintiff, but he did not analyse it.
Mary Emma Eickhoff said she received a prescription from Dr. Benson. She gave it to Mr. Porter to díspense, and She had been using from three to four bottles per week from July 16 to March 15. On the latter date she sent her granddaughter (Harriet Eickhoff) to the defendant's shop for a bottle of the lotion. The child took the prescription. The lotion gave her intense pain, and she was compelled to employ do- mestic assistance. She also had to seek medical aid from several doctors. By Mr. Cleland-She had sent a letter to the de- fendant asking for £20, and nothing more would be said about the matter." If he did not pay the money,she would have to take further proceedings.
The S.M.-Did you complain to Mr. Por- ter about having received a wrong lotion?
The Witness-No. I told Dr. Leon.
Vera Eickhoff (daughter of the plaintiff) stated that she sent her niece Harriet to defendant's shop on March 15. When her niece returned she sent her upstairs to plaintiff with the lotion.and some warm water. She went upstairs herself a little later, and saw her mother's leg, which was like a piece of raw meat. She had seen the leg before, but it was not in that state.
Harriet Eickhoff. aged 10 years, also gave evidence. She did not remember getting the lotion on Marcb 15.
Mr. Cleland applied for a nonsuit. He said there was absolutely no evidence to connect the defendant with the contents of the bottle.
The SM.-The evidence for the plaintiff is very frail, but we will go on.
Dr. J. H. Leon said he attended Mrs. Eickhoff up till October, 1912, for ulcers of the leg. When he discontinued his visits the ulcers were in a fair state of heal- ing. She was advised to continue the treatment, and to relinquish work. On March 25 he saw the plaintiff at his con- sulting room. Her leg was quite as bad as when he saw it last year. There were no blisters. On that occasion he did not say to the defendant, "Here's another d------ mistake. You ought to see that woman's leg." At the beginning of April he saw the plaintiff at her daughter's house, though not professionally. She then said she intended to do something further re
garding Porter's case. On March 25 the witness prescribed a lotion. He did not then form an opinion that the leg had been injured by external application. By Mr. Nesbit -If his instructions had been carried out hewould have expected the leg to become well by about March 15. The plaintiff on March 25 complained that Por- ter had given her the wrong lotion. He did not attach anv importance to it, be- cause he had heard her complain similarly before. ' He did not say,"It serves him right; it will make him more careful in future."
Harold F, Mitchell said under instruc- tions from Mr. Cruickshank,he saw the plaintiff on April 5. At her request he examined her leg, and pronounced the com- plaint to be excema.
The S.M.-You are evidently 'taking up medicine as well as the law, Mr. Mitchell. (Laughter.)
The witness said the plaintiff fixed the date when she recieved the bottle of lotion from the defendant as March 8. He ob- tained the lotion complained of, and ac- companied by a lady from the plaintiff's house, took it to the defendant's shop. The defendant poured some of the con- tents into a small bottle, and,the bottle was handed back by the witness to the lady who had accompanied him.
Horace L. Johnson, assistant at the de- fendant's dispensary, said he was on duty from 6.30 to 10 p.m..on the night of March 15. He did not on that date dispense or sell any medicine or lotion to either of the Eickhoffs. He had dispensed dozens of lotions for Mrs. Eickboff, but none on or since March 15.
The defendant denied that Dr. Leon had said to him on March 25. "Another d----- mistake. You ought to see that woman's leg." He received a'bottle something like that produced from the witness, Mitchell. Except for what he took away he left the Contents unaltered when he returned the bottle. The sample produced was what he retained. He handed it to Mr. E. F. Gryst chemist) to analyse. Johnson drank some of the contents of the sample, and it was tried on the eye of a boy, both without effect.
The S.M.-A wise precaution. (Laugh- ter.)
Edward F. Gryst, chemist, of Sema- phore, said he received a sample of fluid from the defendant. He analysed it and found it consisted of nothing more than a very slight solution of carbolic acid in tap water. The quantity of acid was too small to estimate.
The S.M. said it was strange that Dr. J
Jurs and Leon, who had attended the plaintiff after the alleged injury caused
by the application of lotion, had not been called on her behalf. Dr. Bollen's evi- dence did not bear materially on the case. The plaintiffs., letter, demanding £20, to suppress what it was her duty to the public to publish, was not in her favor. The defence had entirely- set aside the plaintiff's evidence. It was clear that whatever lotion was dispensed on March; 15 that produced in court was not 'dis-
pensed-on that date. It was also evident that whatever was in the bottle it was not dispensed by the defendant, and evi- dently something had-been added to it since. It was a shocking thing that a chemist's practice should be dragged down and his reputation, assailed because of a letter demanding the payment of £20. A verdict was returned for the defendant.