Skip to main content

Full text of "Medical Jurisprudence And Toxicology"

See other formats

522                                                MEDICAL JURISPRUDENCE

or marked with aphthous spots.   There may be ulcerations in the stomach
and intestines.   The heart, fiver and kidneys show fatty degeneration.

Chemical Tests.—1.   The addition of hydrochloric acid to a liquid solu-
tion gives a white precipitate, soluble in excess.

2.    Sulphuretted hydrogen forms an orange precipitate of sulphide of
antimony, soluble in ammonia or ammonium sulphide.

3.    If the fluid containing some free hydrochloric acid be put in a plati-
num capsule, and a fragment of zinc be introduced, a black deposit of metallic
antimony is formed on the inside of the capsule; this will be turned yellow
on adding ammonium sulphide.

4.    Reinsch's Test.—The procedure is the same as in arsenic, but a
bluish-black deposit is formed on the copper foil.   On heating, the deposit
sublimes readily and yields amorphous particles or needle-shaped crystals
of antimony trioxide.

5.    Marsh's Test.—The process is the same as in arsenic, but the flame
produced by burning antimoniuretted hydrogen (stibine) has a bluish-green
tint, and the stain formed by the deposit of antimony on the porcelain dish
is black and lustreless, insoluble in hypochlorite of lime, but soluble in stan-
nous chloride.   On heating the delivery tube the metallic and silvery mirror
of antimony is formed on both the sides in the vicinity of the heated part;
the mirror does not sublimate, yielding octahedral crystals as in arsenic.

Medico-Legal Points.—Antimony as a metal is not considered poisonous
but when inhaled in the form of vapour it is said to have produced dangerous

Poisoning by antimony salts is rare in India. In his annual report for
the year 1922, the Chemical Analyser of Sind reports the case of a person
who died from the effects of antimony tartar given in 24-grain doses thrice
with a purgative. The poison was detected in the viscera.

In Europe, a few homicidal and still fewer suicidal cases have occurred.
For homicidal purposes tartar emetic is given in small doses for several
days, so that the symptoms caused by it may simulate some gastro-mtestinal

Accidental cases of poisoning by tartar emetic have been recorded from
an overdose when given medicinally, or from its administration in mistake
for cream of tartar, Epsom salts, bicarbonate of sodium, etc.

Outbreaks of acute accidental poisoning by antimony have sometimes
occurred from drinking lemonade prepared in cheap enamelled utensils.
They are due to tartaric acid in the " lemonade crystals " or citric acid of
fresh lemons dissolving some of the antimony oxide which is used instead
of a non-poisonous tin oxide in" the manufacture of the white enamel
coating.45 About seventy workmen of a firm at Newcastle-on-Tyne suffered
from the symptoms of acute antimony poisoning after they had taken
lemonade prepared from tartaric acid crystals which were dissolved in boil-
ing water overnight in enamelled buckets. They all recovered. The enamel
of the bucket contained antimony trioxide equivalent to 5 per cent of metallic
antimony. Dr. Dunn found on analysis that an ordinary tumbler of ten
ounces contained 0.57 grain of antimony or 1.52 grains of tartar emetic.46 In
a school at Folkeston lemonade from fresh sliced lemons was prepared in
white enamelled jugs. Half an hour after it was served, twenty-five persons
were sick.47

45.   Brit. Med. Jour., June 16, 1934, p. 1085.

46.   Lancet, Aug. 18, 1928, p. 337.

47.   Brit. Med. Jour., March 11, 1933, p. 423.