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Full text of "Medical Jurisprudence And Toxicology"

258                                              MEDICAL JURISPRUDENCE

A young Mahomedan woman was beaten to death by her husband with a heavy
brick. The face was pulverized owing to the bones having been fractured into several
pieces. The right eyeball was dislocated, and the brain substance was exposed.

The mandible (inferior jaw) is fractured by a blow from a fist, stick
or horse-kick or by a fall from a height. It is commonly fractured near the
canine tooth, and occasionally at its angle, at the symphysis, at the coronoid
process or at the neck of the condyle. Both the mandibles are sometimes
fractured when great force is applied to the symphysis.

The fracture of the mandible is often associated with loss of one or two
teeth, and becomes compound from laceration of the mucous membrane
covering the gums. It may become infected and cause death from aspira-
tion pneumonia.

Eyes.—Injury to the eye, e.g. a lacerated wound produced by a blunt
weapon or by throwing a brickbat may damage the tissues so severely as
to necessitate the enucleation of the eyeball. A blow on the eye with a
blunt weapon may cause a permanent injury to the cornea, iris or lens,
haemorrhage into the vitreous or a detachment or rupture of the retina and
even traumatic cataract. The injury may prove fatal from the inflam-
mation of the orbital tissues extending into the brain, and the consequent
formation of pus. Similarly, a penetrating wound of the orbit may prove
fatal by setting up meningitis through penetration of the thin orbital plates.
Neuralgia and temporary or permanent amaurosis may result from para-
lysis of the upper eyelid, when there is a wound of the eyebrow.

The eyes may be gouged out with the fingers, but in this connection it
should be remembered that birds of prey generally attack first the eyes of
a dead body, when exposed in a field or jungle.

Dr. A. N. Verghese,7 Medical Officer of Palghat, reports a remarkable case of goug-
ing out of a right eyeball. In an altercation that arose over a pack of playing cards on
the 28th April 1924, two brothers, attacked one Gopal Krishna Menon, ^ aged about 27
years. One held the victim tight above the waist keeping the extended arms in the hold,
while the other got behind, fixed the victim's head with his left arm, thrust his right
index finger in, and pulled out the right eye. On examination the right eyeball was
found pulled out of its socket breaking the optic nerve and tearing asunder the muscles.
It hanged out on a few shreds of the external portion of the conjunctiva and the rectus
muscle. The socket was filled with blood clots.

It is said that insane, persons sometimes gouge out their own eyes by
enucleating them with their fingers.

A Sadhu (ascetic), known by the name of Shambhu Bhola Baba and residing in
a cottage on the banks of the river Narbudda near Jubbulpore, gouged out both his
eyes. On being asked by his disciples as to why he tormented himself in this fashion,
and deprived himself of his eye-sight, the Sadhu replied that since the eyes were the
c?use of all sorts of mental and physical sins, he did not think it wise to keep such
sinful things with him.8

Goodhart and Savitsky9 report a case of self-mutilation in chronic encephalitis in
a girl, aged 16 years, of Russian-Jewish parentage, consisting of avulsion of the eyeballs,
and extraction of teeth, all but seven of which she pulled out in the course of two years.

Nose.—In India, the nose is technically considered a symbol of honour
and reputation. Hence during a quarrel it receives the first attention of an
opponent. The nose is also cut off or bitten off through enmity, vengeance
and sexual jealousy, the victim being usually a female, and occasionally a
male. Wounds of the nose are grievous, if they leave permanent disfigure-
ment or deformity. A blow on the head sometimes causes bleeding from
the nose due to partial detachment of its mucous membrane without any
injury to the nose. An extensive lacerated wound of the head may lead to
loss of the sense of smell, and a penetrating wound of the nose caused by

7.   Madras Med. Jour.; Medico-Legal Jour., Vol. 41, No. 6, Nov.-Dec. 1924, p. 164.

8.   Bombay Sentinel, Aug. 26, 1937.

9.   Amer. Jour. Med. Science, May 1933;  Brit. Med. Jour., Epitome,  Sep. 23, 1933,
p. 49.