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Full text of "Medical Jurisprudence And Toxicology"

CHEMICAL  ANALYSIS                                                  443

complained of are referable to the same poison. The medical practitioner
should also preserve for chemical analysis only the portions of the vomit,
urine and faeces ejected in his presence.

When poison has been detected in the stomach contents, the defence
pleader may argue that it may have been introduced after death, or the
contents may have been preserved in an unclean vessel. But these argu-
ments are quite futile and worthless, if the poison has also been detected in
one or more of the solid viscera, such as the liver, spleen, kidneys, etc., and
if clean china plates and glass bottles, free from contamination, have been
used for examining and preserving the stomach and other viscera.

It is not necessary to lay any stress on the amount of poison actually
recovered except in those cases where it is alleged that the poison may
have been administered as a medicine, that it may have been present owing
to the deceased being habituated to its use, that it may have been a natural
constituent of the body or a normal constituent of some article of food, or
that it may have been produced in the body during the process of decom-
position, e.g. leueomaines and ptomaines.

It is quite possible that a person may die from the effects of a poison,
and yet none may be found in the body after death, if the whole of the
poison has disappeared from the lungs by evaporation, or has been removed
from the stomach and intestines by vomiting and purging, and after absorp-
tion has been eliminated from the system by the kidneys and other channels.
Certain vegetable poisons may not "be detected in the viscera, as they have
no reliable tests, while some organic poisons, especially the alkaloids and
glucosides, may, by oxidation during life or by putrefaction after death, be
spilt up into other substances which have no characteristic reactions suffi-
cient for their identification.

I have seen cases in which there were definite signs of death from
poisoning although the Chemical Examiner failed to detect the poison in the
viscera preserved for chemical analysis. In his annual report for the year
1939, the Chemical Analyser of Bombay also mentions that of the cases in
which medical officers gave definite opinions that death was due to poisoning,
poison was detected in 84.6 per cent cases, while in his annual report for the
same year, the Chemical Examiner of the United Provinces states that he
could detect poison in 80.6 per cent cases. It has, therefore, been wisely
held by Christison that, in cases where a poison has not been detected on
chemical analysis, the judge, in deciding a charge of poisoning, should weigh
in evidence the symptoms, post-mortem appearances and moral evidence/"

Examination of the Viscera and their Contents.  A medical officer who
has no experience of chemical analysis should never undertake the analysis,
nor should he ever make any guess from the nature of the stomach contents,
etc. ; but after obtaining necessary orders from the District Magistrate he
should forward the viscera to the Chemical Examiner for analysis. The
Magistrate conducting the proceedings should furnish the Chemical Exa-
miner with a copy of the medical .officer's post-mortem report and with every
fact and detail either from, deponents or from the police investigation, which
may indicate the direction in whick analytical inquiry may yield a positive
result.9

The  Chemical Examiner has  got the most responsible work^ as iybs
findings are final, because he is not, as a rule, liable to
(vide Sec. 510, Or. P.C., Appendix El).

9.   G.O. No. 3072/VX-I09& da*ed 2Stk July 1917 ; I&CJELTJJE>.V
6th August HIT ; U Jf. Ked. Manual, 1934, P- 220.