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Full text of "Medical Jurisprudence And Toxicology"

(612                                                   MEDICAL JURISPRUDENCE

In the case of the young woman of Mandi State who committed suicide
by swallowing powdered glass, no excoriations were seen in the mouth or
oesophagus at the post-mortem examination, but 'the stomach was highly
congested, especially the greater curvature. The stomach contained un-
digested boiled rice mixed with pieces of glass. As much as 190 grains of
powdered glass were collected from the stomach and the biggest piece
weighed 3 grains. The small intestine was congested very much and parti-
cles of glass were found adherent to the mucous membrane. The ileo-caecal
valve was intensely congested. The mucous membrane of the stomach was
leathery, but in the intestine the rugae exhibited the' appearance of minute
scratches under the lens and fine particles were visible between the folds.
The larger pieces of glass were found high up in the intestine.

Chemical Detection.  By straining the stomach contents and faeces
through a muslin cloth, glass fragments may be detected with the naked
eye, or they may be seen as transparent and amorphous pieces under the
microscope.

The Chemical Examiner of Bengal reports a case referred to him by the Civil Sur-
geon of Howrah in which the cook of a European Guard attempted to poison his master
with powdered glass mixed with meat curry. The Guard took a portion of it but,
suspecting something wrong with it, handed over the remainder to the police who for-
warded it for chemical analysis along with the stool of the complainant which he passed
after taking the meal. Coarsely powdered glass with many small sharp fragments was
detected both in the curry, as well as in the stool.5

Medico-Legal Points.r The popular belief is that glass is highly poisonous,
so that it is frequently administered in a powdered or 'crushed form mixed
with some articles of food, such as rice, wheat flour, sweets, etc. Usually a
woman pounds her own glass bangle or a glass bottle and gives it to her
husband in some dish with homicidal intent. In a case0 where a woman,
17 or 18 years old, administered the powdered glass of her bangles to her
husband in chapatis (bread) with the intention of causing his death, she was
convicted of having attempted to murder her husband under section 307,
I.P.C., as he did not really become ill owing to prompt treatment. In his
annual report for the year 1948, the Chemical Examiner of the Uttar and
Madhya Pradesh (United and Central Provinces) cites a case from Bhandara
where a woman administered to her husband powdered glass in the food
prepared from besan (gram flour) with a view to killing him, but suspecting
that some unwholesome substance had been mixed in his food he vomited the
food taken by him. Powdered glass was detected in the vomit and in the
remaining portion of the food. Sometimes glass is mixed with arsenic before
administration.

Powdered glass is rarely selected for suicidal purposes, A caseT is
recorded where a man swallowed ppwdered glass mixed with nitric acid and
kerosene oil with a view to committing suicide, but he was removed to
hospital where he recovered after proper treatment. The vomited matter
contained particles of glass, nitrates and kerosene oil Kini and Naidu 8 also
report the case of a hysterical girl, who swallowed broken bits of glass
bangles and valet razor blades by sandwiching them between slices of bread
with intent to commit suicide. She drank copious draughts of water and
was given 4 ounces of kaylene-ol 4 hours after swallowing them, They all
passed out in 48 hours without causing damage to the mucous membrane
or the walls of the stomach or intestines.                                    ,K

Powdered glass is occasionally employed for destroying cattle.
5.   I-nd. Med. Gaz., Aug. 1915, p. 305.                                        " " "

No' 103 f

7.   Madras Chem. Exam. Annual Rep., 1935, p. 6.

8.   Ind. Med. Gaz., Nov. 1947, p. 648.