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Death from Cerebral Effusion in 1883

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Death from Cerebral Effusion in 1883

Postby Brummie on Exmoor » Fri Oct 07, 2016 5:20 pm

An ancestor who was born in Stow-on-the-Wold in early 1851, worked there as a Groom in the 1880s. He died in June 1883, aged 32, of 'Cerebral Effusion', certified by a local doctor.

Look-ups on Google provide only a rough idea of what exactly this cause of death meant. It might have been Hydrocephalus, Encephalitis, Meningitis, or some other kind of infection, but was probably not a haemorrage, a stroke, or anything sudden. His occupation could however have led to a serious fall or a kick in the head, which may perhaps be relevant.

I would be very grateful if anyone can give me a clear idea as to what may have been behind this early death.

Many thanks,

Jane
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Re: Death from Cerebral Effusion in 1883

Postby maxine tallon » Fri Oct 07, 2016 7:14 pm

I think this means fluid on the brain, which could have resulted from a fall or a horse kicking him in the head.

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Re: Death from Cerebral Effusion in 1883

Postby AdrianB38 » Fri Oct 07, 2016 7:44 pm

The closest that I can find (apart from a Basque "Death Metal" Band :!: ) comes on some copies of pages from Paul Smith's "Archaic Medical Terms" that I saved before it disappeared. I think it's on archive.com. The "I" referred to below is the original author.

Effusion Build up of fluid within or around an organ or structure e.g.
- Pleural effusion - a build up of fluid in the pleural cavity
- Joint effusion - a build up of fluid in a joint
- Effusion of the brain - see below

Effusion of the brain This has appeared as a secondary cause on several queries. Most give a primary disease that could have been fatal, so I suspect that, in these circumstances, it means a lapse into unconsciousness as a terminal event


I would be wary of thinking that there must be an exact interpretation just from the words. I think that Paul Smith was a doctor and my impression was that, as here, not everything was clear cut when trying to sort out a cause.
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Re: Death from Cerebral Effusion in 1883

Postby MaureenE » Sat Oct 08, 2016 2:37 am

I think the wording primary disease in the wording quoted by Adrian is significant.

I think Jane's ancestor has died from a disease, and not from an accident such as a fall from a horse, or a kick in the head by a horse. I believe these causes would have been noted by the doctor.

Cheers
Maureen
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Re: Death from Cerebral Effusion in 1883

Postby sdup26 » Sat Oct 08, 2016 10:42 am

Cerebral effusion is a collection of fluid, trapped between the surfaces of the brain and its outer lining. Reasons for it include haemorrhage, infection (such as abscess) or injury. It's possible he was in a fight, or, as a groom, had a fall from a horse, or was kicked by a horse. But if he felt OK for a while afterwards, and as it may have taken days to kill him, the connection may not have been made. Alternatively, the doctor knew the cause, but didn't add it to the certificate, which would be quite usual. Just as a doctor doesn't put on a death certificate, 'heart attack due to a blocked cardiac artery.' It would simply be 'heart attack.'
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Re: Death from Cerebral Effusion in 1883

Postby Brummie on Exmoor » Sat Oct 08, 2016 12:31 pm

Thanks everyone for putting so much effort into this reply.

Yes, I got all those hits on the Basque Death Metal Band called Cerebral Effusion! Bizarre!

Yes, if there was a direct link between an accident and his death, one presumes there would be an inquest, or a newspaper report, and there was neither. But yes, a death some days later might escape notice, especially if he was working for a large and successful hostlery or a landowner, and the doctor didn't want to rattle the cage.

I think too, that they lived in a pretty poverty-stricken part of Stow, which had big issues with it's water supply. A brother, also a Groom, died of Typhus a few years before. Infection must have been so easy, and so difficult to combat.

Thank you again everyone, this was really useful.

Jane
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