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the corpse”-and the “appearances on dissection.” In regard to the former, he gives a table, containing the appearances observed in a number of cases: but the following extract will present the principal ones, and those most uniformly found:
“ The body is almost invariably found sprinkled with livid spots of a blueish or reddish brown, passing into violet: these
a are most numerous in the most depending parts, as about the back and loins; frequently occurring on the extremities, especially on the fore-arm: the limbs are in some cases extremely flexible, in others as rigid; so that no general law will apply to these circumstances: the fingers are often irregularly bent, sometimes stiff and extended; the arms being sometimes thrown across the chest, especially if tentanic spasms have preceded death. The animal heat has been stated by many authors—as Henke, Jarger, Orfila, and Beckto remain for a preternatural length of time; whilst numerous cases are on record in which the bodies cooled as rapidly as under ordinary circumstances. The same difference of opinion, among authorities of equal weight, exist on the rapid or slow development of the appearances of decomposition. The tongue is found projecting, and often firmly clenched between the teeth; unless vomiting preceded death, in which case the tongue is usually drawn in and concealed. The mouth is often covered with white or bloody foam ; the face in some cases is red and bloated, in others pale and unswollen. The eyes generally retain their vivacious and lustrous aspect, rarely being dull; sometimes they are injected: the pupils have, in almost every recorded case, been found dilated; the whole features presenting an appearance of calm repose ; even slight distortion being extremely unfrequent. On examining the interior of the nostrils, they have been, in many cases, found lined with a black fuliginous deposit. The abdomen is generally found distended with air.”
Appearances on Dissection." Under this head also, the author gives a table, containg the pathological appearances found in 18 cases. The most com
Head-Its coverings injected with blood; internally, the
membranes and sinuses “ invariably turgid with blood," and serous effusion beneath the arachnoid. Cerebral mass-its surface injected, presents bloody points on being cut, and occasionally softened. The lateral ventricles contain serous effusion, sometimes very abundant. Surface of cerebellum turgid, and serous effusion at the base. Extravasation of
, blood sometimes takes place from ruptured vessels; and the author gives one case in which there was universal effusion between the arachnoid and pia-mater, dipping down between the convolutions. Blood in the brain sometimes black, at others florid.
Chest—Frequent effusion of bloody serum into the pleura; lungs sometimes expanded and full of blood and air, at others collapsed-vary in appearance from a perfectly natural one, to redness with black spots, and even to a blackish violet color; vessels sometimes empty, at others turgid ; mucous membrane of air passages, generally reddish and frothy, sometimes pale, with florid or black blood.
Heart-frequently effusion of bloody serum into the pericardium, both ventricles sometimes empty, the right commonly filled; the left usually empty, but occasionally both are filled with florid or black blood.
Abdomen-Most commonly all the viscera are healthy; sometimes the mucous membrane of the stomach and duodenum has a reddish tint, but which is probably produced by a recent digestion ; serous effusion into the peritoneum not unfrequent; arteries empty, veins turgid with dark blood.
The author next raises the question whether carbonic acid acts simply by excluding atmospheric air, or as a specific poison. From the symptoms, vertigo, headache, loss of vision, somnolency, &c., which make their appearance very soon after exposure to the gas, and before any pulmonary symp
toms occur, and from some experiments, in which a gentleman immersed himself (and afterwards some birds) in this gas, and soon experienced its pecular effects, notwithstanding he breathed pure air by means of a tube ; together also with the facts that animals exposed to a mixture of carbonic acid and oxygen expire suddenly, notwithstanding that the oxygen is in as large a proportion as it exists in the atmosphere; from all these, we say, together with other facts already detailed under different heads, the author conceives himself justified in making the following deductions:
"1. That carbonic acid gas, sufficiently diluted with air (as in charcoal-vapor) does not act fatally, by closing the glottis spasmodically, or by excluding oxygen, but as a specific poi
2. That such an atmosphere will produce death ; although it may
contain a sufficient amount of oxygen to support life per se, and to allow the arterialization of the blood to proceed: on which account no dependence can be placed on the dark or florid color of the blood, as arguments for or against poisoning by carbonic acid
gas. 3. That such diluted carbonic acid acts most probably on the nervous system, primarily; and, secondarily, by no means essentially on the circulating fluid.
4. That the death of persons inhaling an atmosphere vitiated by carbonic acid is produced by the accession of apoplexy, often attended by serous effusion into the ventricles, or on the surface of the brain; and occasionally even by extravasation of blood from some cerebral vessel.
5. That no dependence can be placed on the bloated and red, or pale and contracted features ; on the liquidity or coagulated state of the blood ; on the injection or paleness of the mucous membrane of the intestinal tubes or air-pipes; or on the flexibility or rigidity of the limbs; as positive arguments for or against the action of carbonic acid as of death, in individual cases, falling under medico-legal investigation."
5.-Two cases of Poisoning by the Inhalation of Carburet
ted Hydrogen. By Thos. P. Teale, F. L. S. (Communi. cated by Č. Aeton Key, Esq.)
This article details the circumstances connected with two cases of fatal poisoning by carburetted hydrogen gas, which occurred in Leeds, England, December, 1838. The two individuals, an old woman sixty-nine years of age, corpulent and subject to attacks of paralysis, and another female aged twenty-two years, in good health, occupying two small rooms on the ground floor of Potter's Almshouse, were, during the day previous to the night on which they suffered its fatal effects, annoyed by the smell of gas, which escaped from a rupture in a pipe that passed in a few feet of their room. Between the rupture in the pipe and a sink in the floor of a pantry which opened into their sleeping room, there was a free communication for the gas by means of loose earth and rubbish that intervened; and in the evening an explosion of the gas took place in the pantry from a lighted candle being taken into it. After the explosion, by which probably the greater portion of the gas then in the room was consumed, no smell of it was perceived, and apprehending no further danger, the two individuals spoken of retired to the same bed about ten o'clock. About nine the next morning, the neighbors becoming alarmed at their rising so unusually late, broke into the room, immediately perceived a smell of coal gas, the old woman was found lying on her side, lifeless, cold, and the muscles rigid; the young woman was lying upon her face, was dead, but the trunk and extremities were still quite warm and flexible. The bed clothes were but little displaced, and there was no other indication of any struggling by either of them.
Morbid appearances presented by an examination of the body of the young woman about ten hours after death:
External surface generally very pale, save some mottled florid discolorations on the neck and back; features not distorted; pupils moderately dilated ; muscles rigid; fingers flexed.
Head-Scalp contained some, but was not loaded with blood; interior membranes, their vessels and sinuses in a normal condition; substance of the brain firm, contained a
very fluid and rather florid blood” which oozed at numerous points when cut into ; lateral ventricles contained about an ounce and a half of transparent serum. A small quantity of serum was collected in the spinal canal, but there was no observable lesion in any of its contents.
Chest—The muscles exposed in opening this cavity, together also with those of the abdomen, exhibited a very light and florid appearance. The tissues generally of this cavity and the abdomen were pallid, and exhibited a "remarkable absence of turgidity of the veins.
Heart-Its right side contained a small quantity, of fluid blood, not so dark as venous blood generally; left ventricle firmly contracted and empty.
Lungs-Substance generally much less crepitant than natural. Mucous lining red.
Abdomen-Mucous membrane of stomach, “thick, opaque, and easily detached, and presented reddened streaks upon its folds--mucous membrane of the small intestines, generally red, but presented patches in which the redness was most intense. This vascularity was most considerable in the jeju. num, next in the duodenum, and least in the ileum. Throughout the same surface also, were “multitudes of extremely minute ecchymoses.” Liver-fluid blood oozed freely from