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Full text of "Medical Jurisprudence And Toxicology"

438                                               MEDICAL JURISPRTTDENCE

Absorption by the stomach occurs more rapidly when the stomach is
em^ than when it is full of food at the time of taking the poison. In some
cases, however, absorption may be hastened if the nature of the stomach
contents is such as will dissolve the poison. Thus, the action of phosphorus
will be hastened if oil is taken immediately it is swallowed, as it dissolves
in all oils except turpentine.

Finally, it must be remembered that some poisons, when administered
by the mouth, are quite harmless, although they are highly dangerous when
given subcutaneously. Thus, snake venom, when swallowed into the
stomach, has no poisonous effect on the body. Curare, when taken by the
mouth, is practically inert, but it is highly toxic if administered hypodermi-
cally. Hydrogen sulphide is more poisonous when inhaled into the lungs
than when given in solution either by the mouth or as an enema by the
rectum.

4. Condition of the Body.—Under this head will have to be considered
— (a) Age; (b) Idiosyncrasy; (c) Habit; (d) State of Health; (e) Sleep
and Intoxication.

(a)  Age.—Ordinarily, poisons have a greater effect at the two extremes
of age.   Certain drugs, such as belladonna and calomel, are, however, better
tolerated by children than by adults.

(b)   Idiosyncrasy.—This means natural susceptibility or tolerance of an
individual towards certain drugs, such as arsenic, mercury, potassium iodide,
tartar emetic, opium, strychnine, etc., as also towards various articles of
diet, such as shell-fish, pork, pulses, vegetables, etc., which may be harmful
to others.   Thus, a medical dose of arsenic or mercury may produce alarm-
ing symptoms in susceptible persons, while even a very large dose of the
same drug may be tolerated by other individuals without any deleterious
effects.   I have known half a grain of calomel to produce in an adult acute
symptoms of mercurial poisoning.   The same is the case with certain kinds
of food.   Hence the proverb " one man's meat is another man's poison ".

(c)   Habit.—By the long continued use of such drugs as o^um, tafeacco,
alcohol, strychnine and arsenic, people establish the habit of tctoatin|f very
large doses which, under ordinary circumstances, are liable to prove fetaL
Even infants and children who cannot bear very small doses of certain
such as opium, etc. may, by the influence of habit, be made to Jg
siderably large doses of these drugs with comparative imp^tt&T-  '
however, be borne in mind that the habit cannot altogether %$@m$&imit tiie
evil effects of these poisons and that their habitual tise is aft; ^ %pyaapr the
constitution or give rise to organic disease.

(d)   State of Health.—Broadly speaking, a healthy and
is less likely to succumb to the effects of poison than one
by disease.   But in some diseases larger doses of cert
with impunity without causing any harmful effects^
tetanus, delirium tremens aad mania, and strychnine In
other diseases certain drugs cannot be given etren in small
placing deleterious effects, eg. opium in granular kid&ey sim
and mercury m chronic Rrigbfs disease,

tartar emetic even in a small dose may produce sym|>toms,of,
given to a p^rsom haviipg a weak or a fatty heart

(e)  Sleep mtA^^©roolicM^Dur^ slee|>
languid-   Bmce ^jtf&aa. <*-u poisoti is &I$
soon after talcing H^She actl»t|^a]so r-etarS^if
m an intoxicated cooditiaife ^-vi -