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This is a death record from 1924. I cannot understand the cause of death, it says he had an operation. And that secondary anemia was a contributing factor... It looks like the last word is forearm but I don’t have a clue what the first two words are. Any help?

3 Answers 3


Given that this is from 1924, the International List of Causes of Death list from 1920 (ICD-3) should have been the one that was used.

However, that big 146 written on top indicates "Puerperal sepsis" from ICD-3. According to healthline.com, "Puerperal sepsis is a potential complication of postpartum infections. It is one of the leading causes of postpartum mortality in the world."[1] It's hard to see how that could possibly apply to a 5 year old male child.

I would guess that whoever coded this record wasn't familiar with the newer ICD-3 codes, and instead incorrectly used a code from ICD-2 (the 1909 version). Under ICD-2, code 146 is "Diseases of the bones". I read the other text as "cyst right forearm"; according to JHU Medicine[2], a bone cyst shouldn't normally be dangerous, let alone fatal. Adding in the secondary anemia, Nationwide Children’s Hospital indicates that it may have been an 'aneurysmal bone cyst' (ABC). Even that seems like it shouldn't have been fatal; again from Nationwide:

"How serious is an aneurysmal bone cyst? If an aneurysmal bone cyst is left untreated, the destructive tumor processes in the bone continues. Further bone destruction will cause pain, fracture of the bone, immobility of the patient, and if the cyst involves the spine, further destruction can result in nerve damage or paralysis."

All I can think is that perhaps the ABC diagnosis was incorrect; an ABC is described as non-cancerous. Perhaps it instead was actually bone cancer, rather than a bone cyst.

[1] https://www.healthline.com/health/puerperal-infection

[2] https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/bone-cysts

[3] https://www.nationwidechildrens.org/conditions/aneurysmal-bone-cyst


It looks to me like 'Sept right forearm' which could be septicemia of the right forearm. It says that this was confirmed by Xray but he had had it for 5 years which is odd for septicemia so this may not be correct.

  • 2
    I don't think the first letter is an "S" - it doesn't match the "S" in "Secondary". I'd suggest the word is more likely to be "Cyst". Sep 21, 2022 at 8:04
  • 1
    I'd agree with Cyst (and the rest). There's a flourish to start the C that confuses. The y and s are separate if you look closely enough. At least, they are to me! On a quick Google it seems to me that a cyst isn't likely to be fatal as such, rather it's what might happen to the cyst.
    – AdrianB38
    Sep 21, 2022 at 13:22
  • This has been so helpful. Thank you all. I think you are correct that the second word is “right” now I see that the author doesn’t seem to cross his t’s so that makes sense. So maybe cyst right forearm, could have actually been an attempt to describe tumor right forearm. Maybe a melanoma, or a sarcoma?? Any further ideas? Sep 21, 2022 at 15:51
  • @SarahConway Possibly an Aneurysmal Bone Cyst? Sep 21, 2022 at 23:36

Cyst right forearm secondary Anemia Disease lasted 5 years. Probably a cancerous tumor.

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