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The account of the circumstances attending the death this week of a girl who was admitted to the Auckland Hospital suffering from the effects of poison self-administered makes painful reading.
The evidence showed that the patient belonged to the class best described as weak-minded, and the testimony given by Dr Kinder at the inquest merits particular attention. There were, he said, no arrangements at the present time for the handling of patients of a weak-minded type, since no provision was made for anything between insanity and a normal mental condition. He urged that there should be an institution for the care of those who, while not fit to be at large, were not proper subjects for an asylum.
The coroner's jury, rightly impressed by these words, added to its verdict a rider calling the attention of the Government to the importance of making provision for the supervision of weak-minded girls on the lines suggested. It is to be hoped that as an outcome of this unfortunate affair something practical will be achieved in the near future to remedy what is undoubtedly a deficiency in the system under which control is exercised over mental defectives in the dominion. Attention is every now and again called to this deficiency by cases bearing a general similarity to that concerning which Dr Kinder has felt the need of speaking plainly at Auckland, and cases of this kind have caused the hospital authorities trouble and perplexity everywhere for years past.
• Two interesting operations have been performed at the Auckland Hospital recently (says our Auckland correspondent). A young man from Te Aroha was admitted to the institution, suffering from the effects of having swallowed his false teeth, which were subsequently located. A long tube with an electric light attached to the end was introduced into the part affected, and the obstruction was removed. The patient recovered quickly. Another case of a similar but more serious nature was also dealt with. A constable stationed at Huntly swallowed his teeth, and was seriously ill for some time at the Hospital. Although his teeth were not located he has nevertheless been successfully treated, and has been able to resume his duties.
• A ''gallery'' for the instruction of youths in telegraphy has been started in Wellington, and 20 boys (mostly telegraph messengers) are receiving instruction in the groundwork of telegraphy, under the supervision of Mr Quinlan. This is the first instruction gallery which has been established in Wellington since 1901, but one has been carried on for some years past at Oamaru, which is considered a town of ideal conditions for the work. One class has just been ''put through'' at Oamaru, and another one is about to be commenced. These galleries, it is explained, are not permanent establishments, but exist only to supply the demand. They are the feeders of the service.
A primary knowledge of telegraphy (by which is meant the taking and sending of messages on a Morse machine) is not a very difficult business. The lads are usually given about three months' instruction, and are then drafted off to small stations to acquire experience in telegraphy under service conditions, and as they improve in their work they are promoted to more important stations. There are at present plenty of boys offering for seats in the gallery.- ODT, 21.2.1913.