Mabel broadbear

Mendip Hospital Cemetery

In Memory of Mabel Broadbear (1876 – 1896) – Epileptic

Mabel, daughter of Edward Broadbear, a butcher from Worle, Weston-super-Mare, and his wife Elizabeth, was admitted to the Wells Asylum on January 12th 1895, aged just 18 years. She had been subject to epilepsy for some years, her mother saying that she had been fitting since two years of age. One of 11 children, Mabel was the only one of them to display these symptoms. Lately her intellect had been gradually failing, ‘voices’ were telling her she was lost, she was occasionally violent and generally morose. The fits occurred chiefly at night.

On admission she was described as “a fresh complexioned, healthy looking girl, fair hair, blue eyes, pupils equal, somewhat sluggish, tongue clean, pulse 78, heart and lung sounds normal.

Hair swarming with nits.

Mentally – Is dull and confused, can only answer simple questions and then after considerable hesitation, little or no memory”.

Case notes

1895 January 14th. “Is very impudent in her behaviour. Stripping and tearing her clothes yesterday.”

January 16th. “Violent and excited, kicking biting and swearing. Quieter after two hypodermic injections of hyoscine.”

January 25th. “Breaks out periodically into attacks of excitement. Does not have many fits.”

February 26th. “Confused, incoherent and childish.”

March 16th. “The same mentally. Violent and irrational in her behaviour. Insolent manner.”

April 12th. “Has been laid up in bed for some weeks with an abscess in region of left ankle… incisions have been made and wound is now healing.”

May 8th. “Is very troublesome at times. Health improved.”

June 12th. “Does not have many fits. Is obstinate, sullen and self willed and at time very mischievous. Does not improve in any way.”

September 6th. “Simple and mischievous. Does not improve in any way.”

October 28th. “Very self willed, spiteful and mischievous. In better health.”

1896 January 29th. “Very troublesome at times,. Full of mischief and given to annoying others. In good health.”

February 19th. “Gives great trouble at times. It sometimes takes four nurses to dress her, and then with great difficulty.”

February 20th. “Has been noticed to have been quieter and more dull than usual for some days back. Nothing special about her was observed about her at bedtime last night, but soon after she began to have fits in rapid succession and continued to do so till about 1.30 am during which time she had 64 fits.”

February 21st. “Completely comatose and unable to swallow any nourishment. Getting by degrees weaker and more exhausted. Has had no more fits.”

February 22nd. “Died today at 7.55 am.” Aged 19 years.

Cause of death: Epilepsy. Exhaustion after 64 fits. Chronic-acute paroxysmal 2 days.

Mabel was buried in our cemetery in grave number 85, Section D, on February 28th 1896. Her grave, like the majority buried here, has no surviving marker.

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