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5153Re: [S-R] (cause unknown)

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  • John
    Jan 4, 2002
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      At 01:20 AM 1/4/02 -0500, you wrote:

      >-------Original Message-------
      >From: SLOVAK-ROOTS@yahoogroups.com
      >Date: Monday, December 31, 2001 11:01:51 PM
      >To: SLOVAK-ROOTS@yahoogroups.com
      >Subject: Re: [S-R] (unknown)
      >Thank you again John for the further explanation on Debilis, but I am a
      >little confused about your explanation. For instance; how would they (the
      >Doctors or whoever made the call of death) know the child died of Debilis (a
      >cause of death primarily given to elderly death)? Since, as you say, the
      >parents probably did not have the luxury of being able to see a doctor, why
      >would they specify Debilis?

      The cause would probably be entered by the parish priest or
      clerk. Debility - "This was a term descriptive of a patient's condition
      and of no help in making a diagnosis." Since the cause may not have been
      known, they used the condition as a cause. Elderly people did not die of
      "debility" but the term was used as a cause because heart failure and other
      causes may not have been diagnosed. I would guess that in some cases
      socially unacceptable causes such as sexually transmitted diseases were not
      entered either. I know at one time cancer was a "hush" word and people
      were reluctant to mention it but, if it was obvious, I believe it was entered.

      >Why not, say, using your reference again, congenital problems or anything
      >else? This is very curious to me, and maybe I am making too much of it,
      >but I find this vague explanation, on a three week old death certificate,
      >disturbing and most probably acceptable at that time. My 2 cents!

      I'm sure it was acceptable and practiced there and in this country during
      that period. I recall an article in the NM Magazine from the sixties. The
      article described a ranch house that had a noose hanging from one of the
      beams in the house. They said the records indicated two men were hanged
      there. One was Russian Bill accused of stealing a horse (found he didn't do
      it - postmortem) and the other's crime was being a "damn nuisance"
      (probably a habitual criminal in today's parlance). No DNA, autopsies (in
      most cases), etc. back then. Death was simply accepted. "Everybody has to
      die, that's life." as one comic said.


      > At 07:12 PM 12/31/01 -0500, you wrote:
      > >Thank you John. I am sure the web sites you sent will come in handy as I
      > >continue my research.
      > >
      > >I guess since the child was only 3 weeks old his death today would have
      > >considered a crib death.
      >Crib death to me means something sudden and difficult to explain. Child
      >mortality was high in those days. Any illness or congenital problem could
      >easily take the life of an infant. The child could have been sickly at
      >birth and simply couldn't recover. They may have been well aware of the
      >condition but very seldom did anyone have the luxury of being able to see a
      >doctor. Home remedies were used to cure (or kill) the patient. I remember
      >hearing of one that included cow urine as an ingredient for a pneumonia
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