562 MEDICAL JURISPRUDENCE
haemolysis, methajmoglobinsemia, and ursemia due to renal damage. The colour of the
skin and mucosse was deep grey-brown and that of the sclerse was dark yellow-brown.
Suicidal cases are rare. A homicidal case is recorded where potassium chlorate
was given to a child by his mother and step-mother. The child died in about three
After administration by the mouth, potassium chlorate appears in the saliva in
five minutes, but it is eliminated chiefly in the urine.
Potassium Sulphate (Sal Polychreest, Sal de Duobus), KaSO*r~This forms colour-
less rhombic crystals, having a bitter, salty taste, It is soluble in ten parts of water.
It is extensively used for agricultural purposes. Accidental cases of poisoning occur
from its use. It has also been employed in France for procuring abortion,
Symptoms.—Pain in the abdomen, vomiting, diarrhoea, exhaustion and collapse ending
Fatal Dose.—The pharmacopoaial dose is 15 to 45 grains. The smallest fatal dose is
2 drachms. The usual fatal dose is 2 ounces.
Fatal Period.—Death has occurred in one and a half hours from a dose of 2 drachms
and in 2 hours after 10 drachms had been administered in divided doses.
Treatment—Empty the stomach by emetics or wash it put by the stomach tube, and
treat the symptoms of irritation and depression as they arise.
Post-mortem Appearances.—The mucous membrane of the stomach is congested and
Potassium Sulphide (Liver of Sulphur), K°S.—This occurs in dull green, solid masses,
and is used as potassa sulphurata in the ointment of skin diseases.
Symptoms.—It acts as an irritant poison, but at the same time exhibits narcotic
symptoms owing to its rapid decomposition into sulphuretted hydrogen. Death may occur
in a few minutes.
Treatment—Give dilute solutions of chloride of soda or lime and then treat the
Post-mortem Appearances.-—The body surface is livid. Kedness of the stomach and
duodenum with a deposit of sulphur. The lungs are gorged with dark blood.
Chemical Tests.—1. A solution of silver nitrate gives a black precipitate with
2. If the solution be heated after adding an acid, hydrogen sulphide will be evolved,
known from its turning white paper black, when moistened with lead acetate solution,
Alum (Phitkari).—This is a double salt of sulphate of aluminium, and potassium
(potash alum), A12, (S(X)3 K2 S(X, 24HSO, or sulphate of aluminium and ammonium
(ammonia alum), A12 (SOi)3, (NH^s S04, 24HoO. It occurs as transparent, colourless and
octahedral crystals or as a white powder, having a sweetish, astringent taste. It is
soluble in water and glycerin but insoluble in alcohol. It is largely used as a mordant
for dyeing, as a constituent of certain baking powders to whiten bread, and for purifying
water before filtering it.
Symptoms.—Burning pain in the mouth, throat and stomach; vomiting mixed with
blood; dyspnoea; frequent pulse; subnormal temperature; loss of co-ordination; con-
vulsions of a clonic nature; death. In the solid form it acts as corrosive in the mouth
Fatal Dose.—Half-an-ounce to an ounce of alum, One drachm given in syrup killed
a child, aged 3 years, who was suffering from diphtheria.70 Recovery has occurred after
much larger doses.
Fatal Period.—Twenty-four hours.
Treatment—Emetics; lime water; sodium carbonate in large quantities of milk.
Post-mortem Appearances.--The tongue, mouth and oesophagus are oedematous and
corroded. The mucous membrane of the stomach is corrugated, loosened or hardened,
and is stained red or velvety. The intestines are inflamed.
Chemical Tests.—!. An alkaline solution with ammonia and ammonium sulphide
gives a gelatinous, white precipitate, soluble in caustic potash.
2. Ammonia gives a white, gelatinous precipitate, insoluble in excess of the reagent,
but soluble in dilute hydrochloric acid.
69. Wagner, Samml von Vergiftsfalle, 1934, 47, B. 48; Ked.-Leo. and Criminolog. Rev.,
April 1935, p. 135.
70, Taylor, Princ. and Prac. of MedL Juris., Vol. II, Ed. X, p. 344,