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Full text of "Medical Jurisprudence And Toxicology"

514                                               MEDICAL JURISPRTTDENCE

hours after swallowing the poison he passed per rectum two lumps, one
weighing eighty grains and the other weighing twenty-five grains.25

Arsenious oxide is converted into yellow sulphide of arsenic in the
stomach and intestines, but sulphide of arsenic is not converted into white

5. Elimination.  Arsenic, when taken for some time in medicinal doses,
does not accumulate in the system, so that it may give rise to sudden
poisonous symptoms. It is, therefore, not regarded as a c

, Arsenic is eliminated through the urine, faeces, skin, hair and nails, and
| to some extent through the sweat, saliva, bile, bronchial secretion and milk.
After its administration arsenic appears in the urine and fseces usually from
two to eight hours, but it may be detected within half an hour after a single
dose of five drops of liquor arsenicalis (Fowler's solution) . The elimination
by these channels continues for a period of two to three weeks, after which
arsenic is not found in the urine and faeces, although it may be found in the
hair and nails. A case is, however, recorded in which arsenic was detected
in the urine ninety-three days after the administration of a single large dose,
which produced the symptoms of acute poisoning followed by paralysis.20
In his annual report for the year 1935, the Chemical Analyser of Bombay
describes a case in which a man sustained severe injuries including a pene-
trating wound of the abdomen and laceration of the left hand from the
explosion of a powder consisting of potassium chlorate and arsenic sulphide
contained in a porcelain jar. Six days after the explosion the man's urine
was found on analysis to contain 1/250 grain of arsenic. Twenty days after
this the man developed dermatitis, and his hair and nail parings were found
to contain 1/25 grain of arsenic. In this explosion arsenic seems to have
entered the system through the wound and also by inhalation of arseniu-
retted hydrogen which is evolved in the explosion. Willcox ^7 reports a case
in which a Government official of a tropical country was administered
arsenic on October 6, 1922, and the chemical analysis of his hair revealed
the presence of arsenic on December 19, 1922, when he was suffering from
the symptoms of chronic poisoning. Arsenic was also detected in the
proximal portions of the hair 'in a case where a woman, 74 years old, died
30 hours after the toxic symptoms had commenced and where the body was
not exhumed until 9 years and 4J months.28

By dividing hair in small successive lengths from the root upwards and
analysing them separately one m'ay obtain important information regarding
the time that has elapsed since the administration of arsenic. For instance,
if arsenic is administered to a patient daily for a few days and then dis-
continued, the portion of the hair growing during this period yields a much
larger amount of arsenic than the portion growing during the non-arsenic
period. The time depends upon the rate of the growth of hair which is
generally about half an inch per month. Bagchi describes a case in which
he was able to show on analysing the distal and proximal ends of the hair
that a patient suffering from suspected arsenic paralysis had been given
arsenic two to three months before his admission into hospital in Patna.20

In the fatal cases of acute arsenical poisoning where the patient has
survived for ten to fourteen days, it is hardly possible to find the poison in
the viscera usually preserved for chemical analysis, although arsenic was
detected in the viscera of a woman who survived fifty-two days after taking

25.   Ind. Med. Gaz., 1872, p. 183.

26.   Wood, Boston Med. and Swrg. Jour., .1893, C. XXVIH, p  414.

27.   Lancet, Jan. 27, 1923, p. 168.                                         P"

28.   E. G. Young and R. P. Smith, Brit. Med. Jour., Feb. 21, 1942, p  251

29.   Patna Jour, of Med., Jan. 1936, p. 7.