WOUNDS ESTFLICTED DUKESTG LIFE AND AFTER DEATH 231 wounds, and is found infiltrated in the cellular and muscular tissues. There is consequent staining of the edges of the wounds and the neighbouring tissues, which cannot be removed by w^s^ng. but the staining caused by the blood effused from post-mortem wounds is easily removed by washing. There win be $&s of the effused blood in the wounds and tissues, and in the neighbourhood of the body. Clotting of the blood occurs normally in about five to ten minutes. There will also be signs of spouting of arterial blood on the body, clotting, or in its vicinity. In a contusion there will be the presence of ecchymosis, absorption' changes of its colour and a swelling of the neighbouring tissue. On dissec- tion coagulated blood will be found in the subcutaneous tissues. 2. Eetraction of the Edges of the Wound.—Owing to the vital reaction of the skin and muscular fibres the edges of a wound inflicted during life retract and cause the wound to gape. OH the other hand, in the case of a wound inflicted long after death when the body heat has passed oS the edges do not gape, but are closely approximated to each other, as the skin and other tissues have lost their contractility. 3. Signs of Inflammation and Reparative Processes.—These are the signs of vital reaction and will depend upon the period that an individual has survived the infliction of a wound. For instance, tumefaction of the edges and leucocytic infiltration will show that the wound was inflicted within a few hours before death, while the presence of pus, granulation tissue or scab will definitely prove that the wound was inflicted some days before death. The absence of the above signs will show that the wound was inflicted after death; however, it must be borne in mind that haemorrhage and retraction of the edges may take place in a wound caused within one to two hours after death during the molecular life of the tissues, when the body is still warm. In such a case haemorrhage is slight, unless a large vein is cut and there is no arterial spouting or formation of a firm clot which rarely occurs ten minutes after death. In a doubtful case it is desirable to preserve a portion of the wound for microscopic examination. Table showing the Distinction, between Ante-mortem and Post-mortem Woujids Ante-mortem Wounds. Post-mortem Wounds. 1. Haemorrhage, more or less copious and generally arterial. 2. Marks of spouting of blood from arteries. 3. Clotted blood. 4. Deep staining of the edges and cel- lular tissues, which is not removed by washing. 5. The edges gape owing to the reaction of the skin and muscle fibres. 6. Inflammation and reparative pro- cesses. 1. Haemorrhage, slight or none at all and always venous. 2. Ho spouting of blood. 3. Blood is not clotted; if at all it is a soft clot. 4. The edges and cellular tissues are not deeply stained. The staining can be removed by washing. 5. The edges do not gape, but are closely approximated to each other, the wound is caused within one two hours after death. 6. No inflammation o cesses.