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Full text of "Medical Jurisprudence And Toxicology"

MEDICAL JURISPRUDENCE

JWas the child still-born or dead-born ?
Was the child born alive ?
If born alive, how long did the child survive the birth ?

What was the cause of death ?
V_

L   WAS THE CHILD SIHi-BORN OR

To avoid confusion, a distinction must be drawn between the terms,
still-born and dead-born, Under the Births and Deaths Registration Act,
1926, of England and Wales, a stHl-t*Hfr child is defined as one which " has
issued forth from its mother after the twenty-eighth week of pregnancy and
which did not at any time after being completely expelled from its mother,
breathe or show any other signs of life ". Still-births occur more frequently
among illegitimate and immature male cfflSren than among legitimate,
mature and female children, and more often in primiparee than in multipart
^Q^dead-born child is one which has died in utero and may show one of the
f oEowing signs after it is completely born : —

JL»~SigQs °f maceration which is the most usual change following the
death of the foetus in utero. This occurs when the dead child remains for
some time in the uterus surrounded with liquor amnii, but with the
exclusion of air. jl^ge, if a child died in utero twenty-four hours before
it was born, the child may not show the signs of maceration, and in such a
case it will be difficult to state whether the child died before or during birth.

Ihajbody of a macerated foetus is soft, flaccid and flattened, and emits
a sweetish, disagreeable smell, which is quite different from that of putre-
faction. "The skin assumes a red or purple tint, but never green as in
putrefaction. Large blebs resembling pemphigus and containing a red
serous or sero-sanguineous fluid are raised, and the epidermis is easily
peeled off leaving moist and greasy patches. ^The. tissues are generally
ceclematous, and a turbid reddish fluid collects 'in ife serous cavities. The
sutures of the cranial bones are separated, and hence the skull bones are
freely movable over each other. The brain- setfa§tance is^Sgmverted into a
greyish-red, pulpy mass. All the viscera become infiltrated^and lose thteir
anatomical features, but i&e GiSgs and uterus, remain unaffected for a long
time. The umbilical cord is red, smooth, * softened and lacerable. If the
membranes are ruptured after the death of the foetus, air gains admission
into liquor aTrtnii, and the foetus undergoes putrefaction instead of mace-
ration.

»JL Sigas of mummification, by which the foetus is dried up ami
sfariveflecL Such, a condition results when the death of a foetus occurs from
a deficient supply of blood, when liquor amnii is scanty and when no air
has entered -fee uterus.

H.   WAS THE CHILD  BORN ALIVE I

liTO-birth^ according to the English law, means a dnld completely bom
external to the mother irrespective of the attachment or severance of the
1 i&aialiesfeig some  sign  of  independent  life.   Scientifically  this;
L does not seem to be correct^ as it is absurd to call a child not bora
o&i& foot pesjaJBs m. the vagina, the rest of its body has been born ancl
oQgR ivsGilKBg .a&d crying for some time.   To .prove a charge of
,   ^V^^'^1^*se* H is not possible for a Jio^Jical man to say definitely
tl^jifae daU "W^i^^pi^ely Ibcra bq&re it was assaulted, unless he was1
—    •*• at the tme of ^elpfef, anct thus there is always a chance of
-ge  of justice.   Jfc,,              the  difficulty Parliament' passed the

le (Preser¥ati«|r,; Ma m 19^.   It provides that any -person whor
i wfept to <fcsti0f Hie file €f a dbUd cs^aHe of being born alive, by amj

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