Skip to main content

Full text of "Medical Jurisprudence And Toxicology"

See other formats

172                                             MEDICAL JDBISPRUBENCE

External Appearances.—The clothes on the body are wet, unless
examined a long time after removal from water. The face is pale, the eyes
are half open or closed, the conjunctive are congested, and the pupils are
dilated. Ihe tongue is swollen and sometimes protruded.

Fig. 57.—Drowning: Froth at the nostrils.

"^ A fee, white, lathery froth or foam, rarely tinged with blood, is seen
at the mouth and nostrils. If not visible, it may appear on compression of
the chest. This_is, regarded as a diagnostic sign of drowning. Froth of
almost a similar nature is seen in cases of opium poisoning^'^aiiiEi^in deaths
occurring from slow asphyxia. It also appears after putrefaction has set
in. But the froth in all these cases is not of such a lasting nature and of
such a large quantity as in drowning, and the bubbles are also much larger.

and puckered appearance of the skin, known as cutis
or goose-flesh, is found on the anterior surface of the
body, particularly the extremities especially during winter when water is
cold. It is caused by the contraction of the muscle fibres, termed arrect&re§
pilorum, connected with the hair follicles, and is considered as an important
sign showing that drowning had occurred during life, but it may occur on
submersion of the body in cold water immediately after death, while the
muscles were still warm and irritable. It is not confined to drowning alone
as, "being the result of nervous shock, it^lGTliound in other violent accidental
deaths. It may also develop after death as a result of rigor mortis of the
muscle fibres of the arrectores piZorura, especially during winter. More-
over, cutis anserina is rarely seen in India as water, being usually warm,
does not produce the contraction of the muscle fibres of the arrectores
jn^yrum. Of 110 cases of drowning examined by me during a period extend-
ing over eight years I found marked cutis anserina only in 4 cases.

^ 33l§~ P^nis and scrotum are found retracted and contracted, especially
>during winter, when water is cold. Casper14 lays great stress on this point
as a sign suggestive of death from drowning, but the penis may sometimes

14   Forensic Medteme* Ikig. 'EransL* VoL II, p. 23S.