BRUISES 207 The usw ecchymoses do not undergo the usual colour changes ; they are at first bright red, and then become yellow in colour before they disappear. between Accidental, Homicidal and Self-inflicted Bruises.— ^question that a defence pleader puts to a medical witness in the case of bruises is whether they were caused accident- ally by a fall or homicidally by mechanical force. The reply to this question is not easy in all cases; however, the position and arrange- ment of the bruises may help the witness give a defi- nite reply. ^In the case of a fall, a medical practitioner should look for the evidence of sand, gravel -or mud on the body. Again, the shape and size of a bruise gene- rally correspond to the weapon used in inflicting the injury. Thus, a bruise caused by a blow from a fist or a butt end of a club (lathi) is usually rounded in appearance. J^_ bruise inflicted with the length of a club or stick is, as a rule, elongated and irregular. .&. soft cane or whip usually produces two parallel bruis- es with an intervening space A bruise caused by a whip Fig. 77.—Bruise caused by a shoe heel. almost equal to the diameter of the weapon. may also encircle a limb or part of the body and may present an abraded surface at the end. Bruises caused by a blunt weapon are not, as a rule, self-inflicted. During my long practice of twenty-eight years as a medico-legal officer I have not come across a single case of this nature. .But, with a view to supporting a false charge of assault, bruises are sometimes simulated by the application of some irritant substance, such as the juice of Bhilawa, (mark- ing nut) or the root of Chitra (plumbago zeylanica) or Lai Chitra (plum- bago rosea). The marks produced by these substances appear like bruises, but they are ctarE-brown in colour with the margins usually covered with tiny vesicles, and the surrounding skin is red and inflamed. The scrapings of the marks, if recent, will respond to the tests of the substance used. Owing to the irritation caused by the application of these substances it is very difficult to avoid scratching the part with the fingers ; hence similar marks are usually found on the tips of the fingers and under the free edges of the finger nails. In November 1926, a woman complained that she was beaten with a club. On examination I found four marks of dark-brown pigmentation, varying from 1" to 4P by 1" to 3", obliquely across the back and outer side of the left thigh in its lower haH. Tfae* skin around the marks was red and inflamed, and the edges were covered wife tfay.' vesicjes. The tips of the fingers showed similar marks of dark-brown pigmenfewiea*. The scraping of the marks on the thigh and fingers gave the chemical tests of tfee Jt&oe , of marking nut.