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Full text of "Medical Jurisprudence And Toxicology"

MEDICAL JURISPRUDENCE
White 20 records a curious case of poisoning by opium in which a child,

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o to the system by channels other than the mouth, e.g. application
f ^^ abraded surface, a wound or even the unabraded skin, hypodermic
SjeTtion orTntroduction into the rectum or vagina. Opium is rarely used
for doping cigarettes.21                                                          ^

EiimimtioTi.-Opium is eliminated chiefly as morphine m the **e* 
urine It is therefore, necessary to preserve urine for chemical analysis
especially in non-fatal cases of poisoning where the stomach wash does not
Sve the tests for opium owing to the stomach having been washed out with
a solution of potassium permanganate. Morphine is excreted by the stomach
Ld intestines even when administered hypodermically It is sometimes
detected in the saliva and bile. That it is eliminated by the milk is proved
bv the occurrence of fatal poisoning in infants sucking their mothers, who
have been poisoned by opium. A woman, aged 30 years, was admitted ;nto
the K E. M. Hospital, Bombay, with a history of having taken opium*
Opium was detected in the stomach washings of her child, one year old,
who sucked the woman and showed signs of opium poisoning,^

Elimination being very slow, a portion of opium accumulates in the
system and a certain amount may be oxidized into oxydimorphine, which is
found in the urine.

Opium is said to withstand putrefaction in the presence of decomposing
material. Stevenson detected morphine in the viscera two months after the
death of a lady doctor.23 The Chemical Analyser of Bombay reports a case
where opium was detected in the viscera of a body exhumed five months
after death.24 The Chemical Examiner of the United Provinces of Agra and
Oudh writes in one of his letters to the author that "highly decomposed
viscera, after being preserved in the usual manner, have shown evidence on
analysis of the presence of morphine after 3 to 4 months- It is, however,
conceivable that, under certain adverse circumstances, morphine may under-
go a change beyond recognition. Cases also, are known to happen where in
undoubted opium poisoning cases no opium could be detected ". A
Mahomedan male child, about 5 months old, died of opium poisoning in the
King George's Hospital at Lucknow on the llth August 1920, Post-mortem
examination was held on the 12th August 1920, 25 hours after death, The
viscera were preserved and forwarded to the Chemical Examiner for analysis
on the 25th August 1920. In his letter dated 13th September, the Chemical
Examiner stated that no opium or other poison could be detected,

Opium Habit (Opium Eating).  The habit of taking opium is prevalent
throughout India. Ordinarily, crude opium is used but, on special festive
occasions, Kasoomba, its decoction, is offered to the guests. Opium is also
smoked in the form of Madak, Chandu or opium dross,25 In order to pre-
vent the smoking of opium which is very much in vogue, especially in
Calcutta, the Government of Bengal passed in June 1933, the Bengal Opium
Smoking Act, which provides for the registration of the existing smokers

20.    Brit. Med. Jour., July 13, 1901, p. 78.

21.    Bengal Chem. Examiner's Ann. Kep., 1948.

22.    Bom. Chem. Analyser's Annual Rep., 1939, p, 5,

 23.   Brit. Med. Jour., 1903, Vol. II, pp. 1105, 1356, 1381.

24.    Annual Report, 1925, .p. 4.

25.   R. N. Chopra and G. S. Chopra, tnd. Med. Gaz., March 1038, p. 13&