13 July 2018

Brain of Thomas Edgar Collins Mashed to Jelly

TECollinsmonumentT. E. Collins was born 2 November 1854 in Georgia to Stephen Collins (1809-1885) and Louisa H. Wilson (1827-1872). Unfortunately, Thomas met an accidental death at the age of just 23 years. Following from the 11 April 1878 edition of the Columbus Daily Enquirer (Georgia):

GEORGIA NEWS

Mr. T. E. Collins met with a fatal accident in Macon, Tuesday. He had sold a buggy and was hurrying to his office in the dusk of the evening when he fell through a trap door fourteen feet to the hard clay floor of the ground story and landed on his head. His brain was mashed to jelly. Trepanning was performed without anaesthetics. He is probably dead before this paragraph meets the eyes of readers. He was one of the must [sic] respected young men of Macon. So reports the Telegraph and Messenger.

I was unfamiliar with the term trepanning, so searched for a definition. Wikipedia answered with this:

Trepanning…is a surgical intervention in which a hole is drilled or scraped into the human skull, exposing the dura mater to treat health problems related to intracranial diseases or release pressured blood buildup from an injury.

Hieronymus_Bosch_053_detail

Detail from The Extraction of the Stone of Madness, a painting by Hieronymus Bosch
depicting trepanation (c.1488–1516). Public domain image via Wikipedia.

What a terrifying image. I hope Thomas didn't suffer needlessly. He was buried in the same family lot at Rose Hill Cemetery as his uncle William.

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