ARC2005_380.jpg The Daily News Extra Illness of the King (1902). Taranaki Daily News. Collection of Puke Ariki (ARC2005-380).

This Extra from The Daily News was distributed throughout Taranaki after King Edward VII became acutely ill with appendicitis, two days before his coronation that was scheduled for 26 June 1902. Perhaps it was the deadline pressure to issue the notice that resulted in the large print misspelling of “Ilness” in the headline.

In those days appendicitis was generally not treated operatively and carried a high mortality rate, but recent developments in anaesthesia and antiseptics made the life-saving surgery possible. Sir Frederick Treves performed the radical operation which involved draining the infected abscess through a small incision. The next day Edward was sitting up in bed smoking a cigar. Two weeks later it was announced that he was out of danger. Treves was honoured with a baronetcy, which Edward had arranged before the operation, and surgery to treat appendicitis entered the medical mainstream. Edward VII was finally crowned on 9 August 1902. 

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