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Full text of "Medical Jurisprudence And Toxicology"

154                                                MEDICAL JURISPRUDENCE

on the ground ; a bamboo stick was placed across his neck and Mahangade and Bhilare
stood on either end of the stick till the man was strangled to death. The body was
then taken to another village where it was weighted with stones and thrown into a
disused well.5

Symptoms.—Jtf the windpipe is compressed so suddenly as to occlude the
passage of air altogether, the individual is rendered powerless to call for
assistance, becomes insensible and dies instantly. JKjiie windpipe is not
completely closed, the face becomes cyanosed, bleeding occurs from the
mouth, nostrils and ears, the hands are clenched and convulsions precede
death. As in hanging, insensibility is very rapid, and death is quite pain-
less.

Causes of Death.—Death is usually due to asphyxia, but it may be due
to other causes as in hanging, viz. cerebral congestion or apoplexy, asphyxia
and apoplexy combined, or shock. Very rarely, the cervical vertebrae may
be fractured.

TreatmentyrJTJ^is is hardly necessary, as most cases are homicidal, but
in a case of necessity t^jgpnstriction of the neck should be removed, and
artificial respiration should be started at once. This may be assisted by the
application of ammonia to the nostrils, and galvanism or inhalation of oxy-
gen. Venesection should also be resorted to, if necessary. Hot bottles
may be applied to the body, if it is cold. If no serious injury has occurred
to the neck, the prognosis is favourable provided the treatment is adopted
within five minutes.^J^fter recovery the patient may die from any of the
secondary complications, such as convulsions, paralysis, lesions of the larynx
„ and lungs, or from abscesses. *~ ~

Post-mortem Appearances.—These are external and internal.

External Appearances.—The external appearances are those due to the
constricting force applied to tlie neck, and those due to asphyxia.

Appearances on the Necfc^Xhese vary according to the means used.

1. Ligature-Mark.—JJy&,is a well-defined and slightly depressed mark
correspoiiffiif^Toughly to^ the breadth of the ligature, usually situated low
down in the neck below the thyroid cartilage, and encircling the neck hori-
zontally and completely. The marks are multiple if the ligature is twisted
several times round the necTsT The mark may be oblique as in hanging, if the
victim has been dragged by a cord after he has been strangled in a recumbent
posture, or if the victim was sitting and the assailant applied a ligature on
the neck while standing behind him, thus using the force backward and
upward. The base of the mark, which is known as a groove or furrow, is
usually pale'wrFh reddish and ecchymosed margins. Itbecomes dry, hard
and parchment-like several hours after death, if thelsfeln has been excori-
ated. Very .often there are abrasions and ecchymoses in the skin adjacent
to the mark. In some cases the mark in the neck may not be present at
all, or may be very slight, if the ligature used is soft and yielding, and if it
is removed soon after death.

A Mahomedan boy, aged 15 or 16 years, was strangled to death by means of a loin
cloth (dhoti) tied round the neck on the 19th December 1925. At the post-mortem
examination held on the next day at 12 noon I found no ligature mark round the neck,
but found effusion of blood in the soft tissues along the front of the trachea, the mucmis
membrane of which was congested and covered with froth.

^^ft^fingers are used (throttling) marks of pressure by the thumb
and fingersT^ usually found on either side of the windpipe. The thumk
mark is ordinarily higher and wider on one side of the front of the neck,
and the finger marks are situated on its other side obliquely downwards and
outwards, and one below the other, but are sometimes found clustered to-,

5.   Times of India, March 6, 193S.