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Full text of "Medical Jurisprudence And Toxicology"

EXAMINATION  OF  DECOMPOSED  BODIES

71

Fig. 19.óDecomposed body of a Hindu male with hands,
feet and neck tied together.

In cases of strangulation and hanging the cord mark would be apparent,
even if the skin had peeled off, as the skin on and round about the mark
persists for some time. In a case of hanging I found a ligature mark in the
neck on the sixth day after death when the body had been putrefied to a
large extent.

The presence of mud in the right bronchus at the post-mortem examina-/
tion held on the fifth day after death when the body was advanced inf
putrefaction led me to form a diagnosis of drowning.                                    *

A foreign body, such as a bullet, a piece of a weapon or some other
object, found in a body, may give a valuable clue to the cause of death.

In fracture of the skull bones disorganized clotted blood may be found
on their inner plates, or on the surface of the dura mater and on the brain
in spite of its soft and pulpy nature if decomposition has not far advanced ;
but the mere effusion of blood on the brain would not be enough to warrant
a statement that the fracture was caused before or after death. In doubtful
cases a guarded opinion should be given that the injuries found on the body,
if inflicted during life, were sufficient to cause death and that they might
have been caused by such and such a weapon.

The necessary viscera should always be preserved for chemical analysis
in those cases where the cause of death cannot be found owing to advanced
decomposition.

EXAMINATION OF MUTILATED BODIES OR FRAGMENTS

Mutilation of a dead body is not always the act of a criminal, who wants
to destroy all traces of identity' and thus to get greater facilities for its
disposal. In India, animals, such as rats, dogs, jackals and hyenas, and birds
such as vultures, may attack a dead body and mutilate it in a very short time,
when exposed in an open field on the outskirts of a village or a town. Besides,
it is not an uncommon sight to notice the dead bodies of lunatics, fakirs and
pilgrims, lying on the roadside or on remote spots in the vicinity of villages,