herald

Sunday 19 August 2018

Girl (12) vomited seven-foot worm

A 12-year-old girl required medical treatment after vomiting a seven-foot worm as she sailed to a new life in Canada, documents have revealed.

Ellen McCarthy was a passenger on board the Elizabeth ship which was taking emigrants from Cork to Quebec when she fell ill, expelling three worms in total.

Her unusual case was described by the ship's surgeon, called P Power, in June 1825.

It is one of more than 1,000 Royal Navy Medical Officer Journals made accessible to the public at Britain's National Archives in Kew, London.

Mr Power's handwritten notes state: "Complained yesterday evening of pain in the bottom of the belly increased on pressure, abdomen hard and swollen, picks her nose, starts in her sleep, bowels constipated, pyrexia, tongue foul, pulse quick, skin hot, great thirst.

"Her mother brought me a lumbricus (worm) this morning 87 inches long which the patient vomited. The medicine operated well." She was treated with syrups but the journal does not reveal if she survived.

hnews@herald.ie

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