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Full text of "Medical Jurisprudence And Toxicology"

CONTINUOUS CESSATION OF  CIRCTTLATION,  ETC.                            123

blood pressure was 11278 mm. Hg and the respirations were only 8-10 per minute and
regular. After a few whiffs of smelling salts Swarni Ramdasji opened his eyes and
took heed of the surroundings. Except for some scratches and cuts over the trunk and
lower extremities the Swarm appeared none the worse after remaining within the con-
crete cubicle for about 62 hours.

A careful examination of the heart and lungs with, the stethoscope lasting
for five minutes, and repeated at short intervals, if necessary, will enable an
opinion to be formed as to whether the circulatory and respiratory functions
have ceased or not. In a case of doubt this may be supplemented by the
under-mentioned tests.

The tests to determine the stoppage of circulation are—

y (a) Magnus's Test.—This is one of the most reliable tests, and consists
in tying a ligature tightly round the base of a finger, sufficient to cut off the
venous channels without occluding the arteries. The finger remains white,
if circulation has entirely ceased, otherwise the seat of the ligature is marked
by a bloodless zone, and the portion beyond it becomes gradually blue and
swollen.

(b)   Diaphanous Test.—During life the webs of the fingers appear scarlet
or very red and translucent, if the hand with the fingers abducted is held
against a strong light, artificial or natural, while they appear yellow and
opaque after death.    The hand may, however, appear red in carbon mono-
xide poisoning, and yellow in anaemia or syncope*

(c)  Icard's Test.—The hypodermic injection of a solution of fiuorescin
does not produce any discoloration of the skin, if circulation has stopped ;
but it renders the neighbouring skin yellowish-green, if circulation is still
going on.    The substance may also be detected in the blood drawn by prick-
ing the skin at some distance from the seat of injection.   If some white silk
threads are immersed in the blood, and then boiled in a test-tube containing
distilled water, the threads will "become greenish in colour.   The solution
of fluorescin is obtained by dissolving 1 gramme of resorcin-pththalein, and
1 gramme of sodium bicarbonate in 8 cc. of water.

y (jd) On the application and withdrawal of pressure to the finger nail
it opes not assume alternately a white and a pink colour as in life.

*J fe) ,The application of heat, e.g. a burning match or melted sealing-wax
to the skin will not produce- a true blister with a red line of demarcation,
if circulation has stoppedr^^^

- (f) If a small artery is cut, there will be no jerky flow of blood, if
circulation has stopped.

The tests to determine the stoppage of respiration are—

(a) The surface of a cold, bright looking-glass held in front of the open
mouth and nostrils becomes dim, due to the condensation of warm moist air
exhaled from the lungs, if respiration is still going on, but not otherwise.
This test is useful in the cold weather.

(£1 There will be no movement of a feather or cotton fibres held in front
of the mcuth and nostrils if respiration has stopped, but this is not a reliable
test as the slightest draught of air or nervousness on the part of an observer
will move the feather or cotton fibres.

(c) Winslow's Test.—There will be no movement of an image formed
by reflecting artificial or sun light on the surface of water or mercury con-
tained in a saucer and placed on the chest or abdomen, if respiration has
ceased. Similarly, water will not be spilt from a vessel filled to the brim
and placed on the chest or abdomen, if respiration has stopped.

2.   CHANGES IN THE EYE

Soon after death the eye loses its lustre, ^h'e cornea loses its reflex
action" and becomes opaque, and looks like dimmed* glass. Such a condition