Joseph Amos Green signature

On this day in 1918, (Joseph) Amos Green died of jaundice in the 14th Canadian General Hospital in Eastbourne, England.  The extract from his service record below shows that he had previously been in hospital in 1916 and 1917 with shrapnel and gunshot wounds to his hands but had otherwise been healthy.

Amos Green's medical history

Jaundice was relatively common disease in First World War soldiers, and Japanese researchers had determined that it was spread through the urine of infected rats (this disease is now known as leptospirosis). Men in the trenches were more likely to be infected in this manner, but Amos Green was with the 13th Reserve Battalion in England when he fell ill.

Green’s medical records show that he had been diagnosed with syphilis in November 1917 and was treated as an outpatient at the 13th Canadian General Hospital in Hastings between November 1917 and February 1918. At this time, treatment for syphilis involved injections of an arsenic-based drug (Novarsenobillon) and mercury. An article in the British Medical Journal of April 20, 1918, described the deaths of two New Zealand soldiers through liver damage after treatment with Novarsenobillon.1 It seems it was the cure for syphilis which killed Amos Green, rather than the disease itself, as his doctor wrote “Jaundice (Arsenical poisoning)” on his notes:

Death of Amos Green

Green was buried in the cemetery in Seaford, Sussex.

Joseph Amos Green's grave

Joseph Amos Green’s grave, courtesy of (uploaded by wertypop)

His widow, Margaret, and two daughters, Margaret and Mary were living at 9 Dunedin Street, Toronto at the time of his death. The Toronto Evening Telegram reported his death on March 11th, 1918:

Toronto Telegram report of Joseph Amos Green's death

Amos Green is remembered on the Deseronto war memorial.

Deseronto memorial

1 Fenwick, Sweet & Lowe ‘Two Fatal Cases of Icterus Gravis Following Injections With Novarsenobillon’ British Medical Journal [PDF] 20 April 1918