24 February 1920 diary of Dr John Stewart Muir (1845-1938) of Selkirk

Saw 15 town cases cycling including Ettrickhaugh Road + Cannon Street. David [Graham, co-partner] was away all day at a confinement, Mrs H Allan, Riddell and came back for me about 4 to give chlor[oform]. We got the case over all right. Child weighed 10 lbs1. Robert Beattie2, Kirkwynd developed anthrax3 + I got him down to the Hospital where Dav. [Dr David Graham] excised the malignant pustule from his neck. Letter from Patrick4.

1 Andrew Sanderson Allan, born 24 February 1920 at Riddell Gardens, the son of Harry Weston Sanderson Allan, estate joiner, and Maria Young Allan née Steele; the parents had married 8 April 1916

2 Robert Beattie, labourer, of 39 Kirk Wynd, Selkirk [1920 Valuation Roll]

3 The following description seems to match Dr Muir’s description nicely “Malignant pustule, or external anthrax, is nearly always single. The following case in which three, and perhaps four, were present, is therefore of special interest. The careful record of the facts is due to Mr F Talbot, M.B. the acting casualty officer. The treatment by excision of the pustule is nearly always followed by rapid disappearance of all serious symptoms and by prompt convalescence. This result may be counted upon if the bacilli have not penetrated the lymphatics and been carried beyond the local disease. Infection of the resulting wound by bacilli cannot be a really serious danger. The writer has seen many pustules excised, but never once any recurrence in the wounds.” [‘A Case of Multiple Malignant Pustules (Anthrax)’ by R Lawford Knaggs, M.C., F.R.C.S., Assistant Surgeon to the Leeds Royal Infirmary, British Medical Journal, 20 July 2001, page 135]. Anthrax presenting in this manner appears to have been a bit of an occupational disease of woolsorters and similar occupations

4 Patrick Rodger Stewart ‘Pat’ Muir (1879-1961), Dr Muir’s only son, living in New Zealand since 1902

[Source: Scottish Borders Archives & Local History Service SBA/657/23, Dr J S Muir of Selkirk, medical practitioner, journal for 1920]

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Archivist, interests include Dr John Stewart Muir 1845-1938) of Selkirk, general practitioner, and Seton Paul Gordon (1886–1977), naturalist, author and photographer

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