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Wong Kong Ying et al

As part of the Chinese Historical Wrongs Legacy Initiative, we’ve digitized a small selection of inquests and inquiries from 1872 to 1934, found in series GR-0431. These were chosen to reflect the experiences of early Chinese immigrants to B.C. – their living and working conditions, and their unfortunate accidental or unusual deaths.   They range from a woman working in a brothel in Barkerville who died of natural causes to three sawmill workers who died from malnutrition. Learn more.

*All transcriptions are provided by volunteers, and the accuracy of the transcriptions is not guaranteed. Please be sure to verify the information by viewing the image record, or visiting the BC Archives in person. 

BC Archives GR-0431

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the serous cavity, chest, heart and abdominal cavities. The body of Lau Bong showed the same signs as the other two. Grossly, the pathological diagnosis made, was death due to heart failure, resulting from beri beri. Pieces of tissue were cut from the liver, lung, spleen, muscle of the leg, stomach, heart, brain and nerves supplying the muscles of the legs, and sent to the Pathological Laboratory of the Vancouver General Hospital. Microscopical sections were made by Dr. Pitts and the tissues subjected to a number of stains. These sections were examined microscopically and showed definite degeneration in portions of the voluntary muscles of all three, the voluntary muscle being the muscle of the leg which was taken for examination below the knee where the paralysis was most marked. There is a fine but diffused fatty degeneration throughout the liver of all cases, and a well defined edema of the lung. In the special stains used for examination of the nerve tissue, the axis cylinders which are the central conductive parts of the nerve, in the majority of instances seemed to be swollen and frequently completely degenerated, while the medullary sheath is also markedly swollen over the most part and frequently shows disintegration of its structure. It is true that many of the nerve fibres, that is in the nerve trunk, are well preserved, but unquestionably there is evidence of well marked degeneration. The gross findings at the autopsy examination, as described, in conjunction with these microscopic findings, class these definitely as cases of beri beri.

Q. 263 Will you tell the Court just what are the causes of beri beri?

A. Beri beri is a disease prevalent in Oriental countries and some southern countries where the natives live on restrictions in diet, where one substance is practically their whole means of food. It is due to a deficiency of one food factor, which is referred to as Vitamen B.1, which food factor can be destroyed by heating substances in which it is found. It is most commonly or abundantly found in yeast, in the covering of wheat, that is in the germ part, in the covering of rice, in fact, in the covers or germs of all seeds, and


BC Archives GR-0431 BRITISH COLUMBIA. ATTORNEY GENERAL. Box 13 File 6 Inquisitions/inquests conducted by coroners in British Columbia.

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