PUTREFACTION OR DECOMPOSITION
Fig. 35.—Decomposed body of a boy, 8 years old.
The cuticle has peeled off at places.
Internal Phenomena.—The changes of discoloration similar to those
described in the external phenomena of putrefaction are observed in the
various visceral organs, such as the liver, spleen and kidneys, but the colour
is usually dark red changing to black instead of a greenish colour. This
discoloration should not be mistaken for the greenish-yellow or black colora-
tion imparted to the neighbouring organs by the bile soaking through the
gall bladder. The pathological changes are still evident, hence it is necessary
to go on with the examination. The viscera subsequently become greasy
and softened, so that it is difficult to remove them entire.
The rate of putrefaction in the internal organs varies greatly owing to
the Sifferences in their structure as regards firmness, density and moisture.
From his long experience Casper 25 has drawn up the following table show-
ing the order in which the internal organs putrefy : —
Those which putrefy soon
Those which putrefy late
4. 5. 6. 7. 8.
The The The The The The The The
Larynx and Trachea. Brain of Infants. Stomach. Intestines. Spleen. Omentum and Mesentery. Liver. Adult Brain.
10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17.
The The The The The The The The The
Heart. Lungs. Kidneys. Bladder. Oesophagus. Pancreas. Diaphragm. Blood Vessels. Uterus.
The Larynx and Trachea.—The decomposition of these organs coincides
almost with the appearance of the greenish coloration over the abdomen.
25. Forensic Med.3 Balfour's Eng. TransL, Vol. I, p. 44.