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Full text of "Medical Jurisprudence And Toxicology"



near open doors and windows, through which it enters. It is attracted by
the highest points ; hence it is dangerous to stand near tall trees during
thunderstorms. Similarly, it is dangerous to have a good conducting
material on the body or in its vicinity. Wet clothes and wet skins are also
good conductors, while dry clothes and dry skin are bad conductors.

Symptoms.—When an individual is struck by lightning, he falls uncon-
scious immediately due to syncope or concussion, and dies at once from
paralysis of the cardiac and respiratory centres or subsequently from the
effects of burns and lacerations after some days or even weeks. In non-
fatal cases the individual complains of giddiness, ringing in the ears and
headache. These symptoms pass off very soon or hysteria and nervousness
may supervene, when the lightning discharge is very slight, though in severe
shock the individual may suffer from affections of the eyes, including con-
junctivitis, clouding of the cornea, cataract and retinal haemorrhage or
detachment, and later from loss of memory, ansesthesia, paralysis, tetanic
convulsions, delirium, blindness, deafness or dumbness.

The lesions produced by lightning stroke are varied, and may consist of
ecchymoses, contusions, lacerations, -wounds of almost any variety, simple,
compound or comminuted fractures of bones and burns varying in depth and
extent. In addition to the singeing of the hair, blisters, fissures and even
charring caused by burns, reddish-brown arborescent markings are often
seen on the surface of the skin. These markings are superficial burns
producing mere erythema of the skin, which indicates the paths taken by
the branching nature of the discharge.

Fig. 73.—Burns caused by Lightning.

The wearing apparel is usually burnt or torn at the point where light-
ning strikes and enters the body and at the point where it leaves the body.
In some cases the wearing apparel may be wholly stripped from the body
and thrown to some distance. One or both of the boots or shoes may be
burnt or torn to pieces. Sometimes, the soles may be torn off the upper
leathers or a large hole niay be torn in them.