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Full text of "Medical Jurisprudence And Toxicology"

358                                              MEDICAL  JURISPRUDENCE

vasation of blood on the under surface of the scalp on its posterior aspect. It was pre-
sumed that the child was thrown out of a window of a railway carriage of a running
train, as it was found soon after the train nad passed.

A newly-born female infant was discovered lying in a densely populated working
class street in Leith, which had been thrown from a window on the first floor, a height
of fourteen feet and three inches. The infant was removed to the parish hospital, where
she died six hours later. At the necropsy no external marks of violence were found on
the body, but the scalp all over felt soft. In the left parietal region there was a non-
discoloured swelling of the size of half a walnut. On reflecting the scalp a copious effusion
of dark coloured coagulated blood was found in the areolar tissue over almost its entire
extent. The left parietal bone showed a somewhat depressed stellate fracture radiating
from a point situated about midway nearer its lower border. Of the three fissures one
extended upwards to the sagittal sutures for a distance of two inches, a second reached
forward to the frontal bone for one inch, and the third ran towards the occiput for one
and a half inches. There was considerable congestion of the brain substance.— Garland,
Brit. Med. Jour., May 18, 1907, p. 1182.

The defence is usually based on the plea of precipitate labour in those
cases* wfcere the cause of death is due to fracture of the skull "bones.
Prec^itate labour is likely to occur in a woman with a roomy pelvis and
wiflTan old laceration oŁ the perinaeurn, or a woman may show a recent
rupture of the perinseum if examined soon after delivery ; but the perinaeum
may be ruptured in a primipara even if the delivery was normal. More-
over, in a case of precipitate labour the foetal head will not show a caput
succedaneurn or moulding, and the fracture will be fissured and limited to
the parietal or frontal and squamous portion of the temporal bone, but will
not be extensive and comminuted affecting the vault or base. The placenta
may be born along with the child, or the umbilical cord may show the torn
and ragged ends due to its spontaneous rupture owing to the sudden jerk
and strain. The ruptures occurs more frequently at the foetal end than at
the placental end of the cord, but does not occur in its middle. Sometimes,
the amniotic sheath of the cord remains intact, but the vessels contained in
it may be torn at both ends. If the cord has been intentionally torn, it is
usually to find rupture of the liver caused by the forcible strain put upon the
child's abdomen during the process of traction of the cord. The length of
the cord, if available, should always be measured at the time of the post-
mortem examination.

5. fracture and Dislocation of the Cervical Vertebrae. — These injuries
are produced by criminal violence applied to the neck. They are not
usually caused by falls but may be produced accidentally by forcible
rotation of the neck in an attempt made to correct a malposition of the foetus
or to extract the head in a breech presentation. It should, however, be
remembered that the neck of a child is very short and is capable of con-
siderable mobility.

^,ff^^^"-35^iewly-born child may be killed by penetrating wounds
into the Tieart, brain, medulla, or other internal organs caused by needles,
ins or scissors.           xtmaal wound wil


or scissors. ^la^^xtmaal wound will be visible, if a needle or pin is
t through the fontanelles, through the inner canthus of the eye, up the
ils, down the throat or up the rectum. Meixner 17 reports the case of
an infant dying on the fourth day. Post-mortem examination showed that
a needle was lodged in the right upper hemisphere of the brain through the
anterior fontaneHe. Iliere was a very minute discharge of blood. Hie
Brother an cmmarried woman, had inserted the needle to kill the chili
b&e ted also given the child poison which produced its death, and the
wound in the erankim was not the cause of the death.


u-S*^1^ reŁ*°?;ts a* extraordinary case of child murder.   An illegiti-
cMd, 2t days old, died in suspicions circumstances.   It was found that

Me&e&ut, Band 48, Supplement No. I ; Peterson, Haines
*          *EfcHia V* Vol I, p. 1013.

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