Patient Case Study: Dicker, Caroline

In-patient, 1859 (died)


Hospital Dorset County Hospital Patient type In-patient
Number 4637 Date admitted 16 Jul 1859 [originally said 7 Jul]
Name Dicker, Caroline Renewed
Age 39 Under whose care Mr. Tapp
Occupation Lab[ourer]’s wife Disease Comp[ound] com[minute]d fracture
Parish Piddlehinton Discharged 6 Jul 1859
Recommended by Admitted as accident case Outcome Died
Source Dorset History Centre, Dorset County Hospital in-patient admissions register 1847-59, NG/HH/DO(C)/5/2/1



  1. “MILBORNE ST. ANDREW. FATAL ACCIDENT.–On Tuesday afternoon, a woman named Caroline Dicker, was taken to the Dorset County Hospital, suffering from a serious accident sustained while assisting in thrashing at this place. It appears that she was cutting the bands from the sheaves, when she slipped down the smooth board, and was drawn into the drum of the machine, her leg being smashed into a pulp, and the injuries reaching up to the middle of the thigh. On arriving at the Hospital, Mr. Phillips, the house surgeon, immediately applied the tourniquet, and sent for W. D. Tapp, Esq., who afterwards had a consultation on the case with Dr. Cowdell. It first was contemplated to amputate the limb, but owing to the great loss of blood this was deemed impracticable ; and notwithstanding a judicious administration of stimulants, the poor woman sank into a state of collapse, and expired about 11 o’clock the same night.” [Salisbury & Winchester Journal, 23/07/1859, p. 7]
  1. Threshing Machine Accidents. I cannot forbear a remark on the frequency of injuries to women whilst engaged in their occupations on threshing machines, these injuries being of a very serious nature, involving loss of life in a very large majority of the cases. During my half-year’s connection with this hospital, I have seen two of the most frightful cases of smashed leg and arm that it is possible to conceive. The one case was a Milborne woman, conveyed hither, a distance of 8 miles, with the blood streaming in profusion from the torn end of the femoral artery ; and on her arrival here I found the poor creature almost moribund, and, to use the expression of a by-stander, “swimming in a cartful of blood”. Notwithstanding the immediate application of a tourniquet, and the abundant administration of stimulants, she died five hours after admission. … In conclusion, Sir, I would make two observations:–First: That the practices of employing women on threshing machines should be discontinued, the nature of their habiliments rendering them much more liable to accidents than men. Second : That the poor sufferer’s co-operatives should immediately send for the nearest medical practitioner, whose timely assistance with the tourniquet would arrest the flow of blood, and save the lives of a considerable proportion of the cases. The neglect of this precaution is fatal, more than once persons conveyed hither having died on the road. DANIEL W. PHILLIPS. Dorset County Hospital, Oct. 18, 1859. (We feel obliged to the House Surgeon for his communication, which we feel sure will attract notice in the proper quarter, and be attended with desirable effect. It is almost incredible that sufferers should be conveyed from such distances without any attempt to stop haemorrhage.–ED. D.C.C.)” [Dorset County Chronicle, 20/10/1859, p. 14]
  1. Caroline Dicker, death registered Sep quarter 1859, Dorchester district. [General Register Office index, vol. 5a, p. 231]