PUTREFACTION OR DECOMPOSITION
Fig. 33. Decomposed body of a male showing especially blisters.
breasts of female bodies are greatly distended. The penis and scrotum be-
come enormously swollen. The cellular tissues are inflated throughout, so
that the whole body appears stouter and older than it actually is.
Owing to the formation of these gases under the skin blisters containing
a reddish coloured fluid form on the various parts of the body. When these
burst, the cuticle being softened peels off easily. Bruises and abrasions may
become unrecognizable when the cuticle is denuded. Wounds, whether caused
before or after death, begin to bleed once more owing to the pressure of gas
within the heart and blood vessels. Wounds also become so altered in
appearance that it may be difficult to form an opinion as to whether they
were caused before or after death, unless the presence of the clotted blood
can be distinctly made out.
Flies, such as common house-flies and blow flies, are attracted to the
body, and lay their eggs, especially in the open wounds and natural orifices.
The eggs hatch into maggots or larvae in from eight to twenty-four hours
during hot weather. The maggots crawl into the interior of the body and
help in destroying the soft tissues. Sometimes, maggots appear even before
death, if a person has ulcers on him. The maggots become pupae in four
or five days, and the pupse develop into adult flies in the course of three
to five days.
From forty-eight to seventy-two hours the rectum and uterus protrude.
The gravid uterus may expel its contents. The hair becomes loose, and is
easily pulled out. The nails are also loose, and are easily detached.
In three to five days or more the sutures of the skull, especially of
children and young persons, are separated, the bones are loosened, and the
liquefied brain runs out. The teeth become loose in their sockets, and may
next stage of putrefaction is known as colliqiiative putrefaction
which begins from five to ten days or more after death. During this stage
the walls of the abdomen become softened, and burst opeĢi>protruding the
stomach and intestine. The thorax, especially in children, "bursts. The
diaphragm is pushed upwards.