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Full text of "Medical Jurisprudence And Toxicology"

ARSENIC                                                         513

of 7.6 grains in one square foot.   In 2 ounces of sugar 0.00008 to 2.2 grains
of arsenic were detected.

2. Method of Introduction.—In most of the homicidal cases arsenic is
administered by the mouth after disguising it with articles of food, such as
sweetmeat, bread, dal, cooked vegetables, and drinks, such as milk, tea,
coffee, sharbat, port wine, or with medicine. It has sometimes been given
with prepared pan.

Recently, arsenic is mixed with the tobacco of a cigarette which is then
offered to a person with a view to robbing him on his becoming senseless
after he has smoked it. In his annual report for the year 1941, the Chemical
Examiner, Bengal, mentions a case where he received from the Police
Magistrate of Sealdah a cigarette box containing six "Passing Show"
cigarettes which was recovered from three old offenders loitering on the
platform of the Shamnagar Railway Station. Four of these cigarettes were
iound to contain arsenic (about 4 grains in each cigarette) mixed with the
tobacco. It is not known if the offenders were ever successful in robbing
their victims by this novel method. It is not known if arsenic carried
mechanically to the lungs along with the smoke produces acute poisoning
in which shock or unconsciousness is the main feature, or if arsine or a new
volatile organic arsenic compound, e.g. a nicotine arsenic complex, is formed
during smoking which is likely to cause unconsciousness, when inhaled.

The fact that the fumes emanating from burning incense impregnated
with arsenical compounds in a closed space will produce fatal arsenic poison-
ing is sometimes utilized -by secret poisoners for homicidal purposes.

Arsenic has occasionally been injected into the rectum after -mixing it
with the liquid to be used as an enema. Arsenic has also been introduced
into the vagina either for the purpose of committing suicide or for procuring
abortion. It has produced poisonous symptoms, when used as an urethral
injection.

Cases of poisoning have occurred from the application of arsenic paste
to a cancerous growth, or of its ointment or solution to a blistered or
abraded surface, or even to the uninjured skin.

Sometimes fly-papers or weed-killers are soaked in water, tea or wine
and the solution is then administered with homicidal intent.

„ 3. Tolerance.—Individuals who are in the habit of taking arsenic acquire
a certain amount of tolerance to bear it up to four grains or more in one
dose. They use it daily with the idea of improving their looks and becoming
more hardy to carry weights and to climb mountains. This habit is common
among the peasants of Styria and Hungary. The people using this drug as
a habit are called arsenophagists, and suffer from the symptoms of mild
arsenical poisoning if the drug is withheld from them.

In India, some people are in the habit of taking arsenic daily as a tonic
or as an aphrodisiac. Sometimes, it is given in small quantities with a view
to producing death from slow poisoning, but instead it makes a man plumper
and stronger as happened in the case of the late Fulham of Agra who was
being poisoned with arsenic by Clark.

Arsenic is largely given by grooms to improve the coats of horses. If it
is withheld, the animals become dull and lose flesh.

4. Solubility of Arsenic.—When administered in a soluble form by the
mouth, arsenic gets absorbed into the blood almost in a few minutes but,
when taken in solid lumps, it may not be absorbed by the stomach, and
• sometimes passes out with the faeces without producing any poisonous
symptoms. For instance, in 1872, a Parsee in Bombay had swallowed two
masses of arsenious oxide without any serious effects. Within forty-five

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