In 1898, a Steveston, BC doctor with financial troubles “procured a pound of Indian hemp for what reason no one at present knows… enough to supply a drug store for a year.”
Later that day, the doctor was found in the “busy little salmon town… in a condition of unconsciousness” and it was assumed that the “the doctor took an overdose.” Despite it being impossible for someone to fatally overdose on cannabis, it was “reported in the streets that the doctor besides being dead, had committed suicide.” The town was “astir” with the news and “many sensational stories have got abroad about the doctor’s close call.”
Several days later, the doctor put rumours to rest and explained that his “poisoning was purely accidental. He had had a poisonous infusion in a graduate and by mischance took a drink of water from it without washing it out.” According to one reporter, he looked “remarkably well… for a man who had a close rub against the ferryman over the styx” and clearly had “no desire whatever to hasten his shuffling off from this mortal coil.”
A DOCTOR POISONED
W. McGibbon, of Steveston, Took an Overdose of Indian Hemp – Will Probably Recover
Vancouver Daily World, October 20, 1898, p. 5
Steveston was all astir this morning over the reported death of one of the most prominent of its citizens, Dr. McGibbon. A Vancouver doctor was called hastily out to the busy little salmon town in the middle of the night, the message being that McGibbon had been poisoned. It appears from the details learned to-day that yesterday the doctor procured a pound of Indian hemp for what reason no one at present knows. In small doses it is occasionally used in connection with aggravated cases of neuralgia, but a pound would be enough to supply a drug store for a year, figuratively speaking. The doctor took an overdose of this and early in the evening he sank into a condition of unconsciousness. Dr. Lambert was called as was also a Vancouver doctor and by this morning they succeeded in leaving him out of danger in the heavy sleep that succeeds the using of a narcotic to any particular extent.
It was reported on the streets that the doctor, besides being dead, had committed suicide, but the Vancouver doctor who had the case in hand assured a World reporter that the overdose had been taken accidentally. The circumstances will probably be brought to light as soon as the doctor recovers. His practice at Steveston has not been very remunerative.
NOT DEAD YET
Vancouver Daily World, October 25, 1989, p. 1
Dr. McGibbon, of Steveston, was in the city to-day. For a man who had a close rub against the ferryman over the styx the doctor is looking remarkably well. Many sensational stories have got abroad about the doctor’s close call, but the fact is that his poisoning was purely accidental. He had had a poisonous infusion in a graduate and by mischance took a drink of water from it without washing it out. He is worth a whole lot of dead men, yet and has no desire whatever to hasten his shuffling off from this mortal coil.