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Full text of "Medical Jurisprudence And Toxicology"

ARSENIC                                                          517

the result of vital processes, will be absent in post-mortem imbibition of the
poison.

When arsenic has been found in exhumed bodies a further question may
arise as to whether arsenic found in the body has been absorbed from the
earth which surrounded the coffin or the body. In this connection it must
be remembered that arsenic met with in the soil is usually an insoluble salt
mixed with lime or iron, hence it is impossible that an insoluble salt should
percolate into the cadaver buried in such soil, especially if the body is laid
in a coffin. However, to avoid the possibility of any doubt, it is safest, if the
body has to be disinterred, to preserve for chemical analysis samples of the
earth surrounding the coffin or the body.

Illustrative Cases.—1. A woman was charged with having caused the dea-fti of one
Azimullah of nearly 70 years, by giving him arsenic mixed with two loaves of bread and
potato curry on the evening of the 16th January 1923. The deceased took one bread
with that vegetable and he had broken two morsels from the other bread when he began
to feel uneasy and so he left it as it was. Shortly afterwards vomiting and purging
commenced. Some ghee was administered to relieve the burning pain, but early next
morning he expired. The Chemical Examiner, UP., detected arsenic in the viscera as
well as in the bread. The viscera were found to contain 1 grain of arsenic. The amount
of arsenious oxide in the bread was 2.6 grains per ounce. Assuming that one of the
chapatis weighed not less than two ounces, Azimullah must have taken at least 5 grains
of arsenic.—K. E. v. Mt. Sharifan, All. H. Court Cr. App. No. 449S 1923.

2.   A Hindu female, aged 20 years, of Cutback, introduced a plug of cotton wool
smeared with arsenic into her vagina to procure abortion, but on finding that it had no
desired effect, she took some  arsenic internally and died from its effects. ^ On post-
mortem examination the stomach and small intestine were found congested, and there
was ecchymosis near the cardiac end of the stomach.    The uterus was enlarged and
uniformly congested.    It contained a foetus of about four months with its membranes
and liquor arnnii intact.   Arsenic was detected in the viscera as well as in the plug of
cotton wool  removed  from  the vagina.—Bengal  Chemical Examiner's  Annual Report;
Ind. Med. Gaz., Aug. 1915, p. 304.

3.   Abdul Majid, aged 35 years was given by Ibrahim arsenic mixed with milk on
the evening of the 12th May 1926.   Within half an hour he suffered from burning pain
in the stomach and began to vomit and had purging.   At about 2 a-rn., while he was
suffering from the acute symptoms of poisoning, he was assaulted by Ibrahim with a
gandasa and he received several extensive incised wounds on the face and left shoulder.
He died at 8 a.m. on the 13th May 1926.   Arsenic was detected in the vomit as well as
in the viscera.—King-Emperor v. Ibrahim,, Allahabad High Court Criminal Appeal No. 518
of 1926.

4.   In the beginriing of 1931, a Mahomedan male became ill soon after taking his
night meal in the Police Lines, Lucknow.    He complained of severe burning pain in
the stomach, had persistent vomiting and purging and was in a state of collapse.   He
was removed to the Police Hospital, where he was diagnosed as a case of cholera, and
was transferred to the King George's Hospital for more efficient treatment.   Soon after
admission to this hospital he died.   The Police suspecting foul play forwarded the body
to me for post-mortem examination.   The examination was held six hours after death,
and showed the characteristic appearances of acute poisoning by arsenic.   The Chemical
Examiner detected arsenic in the stomach contents and in the viscera.

5.   A Hindu male, aged about 45 years, survived for seven days after he took some
arsenic in bananas sent by his neighbour who owed some money to him.   He had frequent
vomiting, bloodstained stools, extreme thirst, pain in the throat and abdomen, cramps in
the legs and headache for two days and nights.    He was removed to hospital where
except headache other symptoms subsided.   He was in hospital for five days, and during
this period he had vomiting only once and had yellowish-green watery stools.   About
ten hours before death he -passed  a large  quantity of a  dark, tarry stool,  gradually
collapsed and died.—Bengal Chemical Examiner's Annual Report, 1932, p. 14.

6.   A Mahomedan woman mixed arsenic in some halwa, and got it distributed by a
servant of her relative to a large number of families residing in Lahore.   The halwa was
tasted  by  about  33  persons  including  children.    All  developed  symptoms  of  arsenic
poisoning and  while  some  recovered  after  treatment  at  home,  a  large  number was,
removed to the Mavo Hospital where all except an old woman and her eight-year-old
grandson revived.—Leader, October 23, 1935, p. 10.

7.   A case occurred at Gaya where arsenic was used as an intoxicant   A H&idii
male, aged 24 years, who was in the habit of taking intoxicants took one early morning
about half a pound of "bhang sherbat.   As this did not produce any intoxicating elEeet on
him, he took about 20 grains of arsenic.   Immediately afterwards symptoms of poisoning