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Full text of "Medical Jurisprudence And Toxicology"

:        CHLOROFORM                                                641

sweetish warm taste. It boils at 38°C. It is a BJP.C. preparation known as ethyl
bromidum, the dose being 1£ to 3 fluid drachms by inhalation. Used as a spray, it acts
as a local anaesthetic by refrigeration. Administered by inhalation, it acts as a general
anaesthetic, but it is not used for this purpose, as its action is uncertain.

When inhaled in the concentrated form ethyl bromide acts as a poison, irritating
the air-passages and producing congestion and oedema of the lungs.


This is prepared largely by distilling ethyl alcohol, methylated spirit or
acetone -with bleaching powdej. It is a heavy, colourless, volatile liquid,
possessing a sweet, pungent taste and a characteristic ethereal odour. When
heated, it burns with a green-edged flame, but it is not inflammable at the
ordinary temperature. Exposed to air and light, pure chloroform gradually
undergoes decomposition, and produces carbonyl chloride (phosgene gas),
chlorine and hydrochloric acid, which are very poisonous. The addition of
about 1 per cent alcohol and keeping it in a blue or amber coloured, well-
stoppered bottle prevents such decomposition.

Chloroform is soluble in 200 parts of water, and mixes in all proportions
with absolute alcohol, ether, benzene and petroleum spirit. It dissolves fats,
caoutchouc, resins, sulphur, phosphorus, iodine, various alkaloids and many
other organic compounds. It is a pharmacopceial preparation, the dose being
1 to 5 minims. Its official preparations are—

1.    Aqua Chloroformi.—1 in 400 of water.   Dose, i to 1 fluid ounce.

2.    Emulsio Chloroformi.—1 in 20 of water.   Dose, 5 to 30 minims.

3.    Spiritus CKloroformi   (Chloric ether or Spirit of Chloric ether).—
1 to 20 of rectified spirit.   Dose, 5 to 30 minims.

Tinctura chloroform^ et morphinoe composite is a B.P.C. preparation, and
is intended to be a ^substitute for a proprietary medicine, chlorodyne. It
contains J minim of cteoroform, 1/11 grain of morphine hydrochloride, and
\ minim of dilute hydro^^0 ac^ *n ten minims. The dose is 5 to 15
minims,                                    */oUc

Chloroform produces poisonoiSS, symptoms, when it is inhaled as a
vapour, and also when it is swallowed as a liquid,

Symptoms when inhaled as a Vapour.—For convenience of description
the symptoms are divided into the following three more or less distinct
stages : —

(1)  Stage   of   Excitement,    (2)    Stage   of   Depression.    (Anaesthesia)*
(3) Stage of Paralysis.                                                                      ;

1.    Stage of Excitement,—As soon as a few whiffs of the vapour are
inhaled the patient experiences a sense of irritation in the throat and fauces,
and a burning sensation in the eyes.   The face becomes flushed, and a sense
of warmth is felt over the whole body, with a creeping sensation, in the skin.
All the senses except those of sight and ^hearing are dulled, and the mind
becomes confused.    At this stage the patient gets delirious, begins to sing,
laugh, cry, or use abusive and profane language.   Sometimes, he struggles
so violently that he is required to be held down by the assistants.   The pupils
are first dilated, but become  contracted  as  in natural sleep.   Frequently
there is a tendency to vomit.   The pulse and respirations are increased in
frequency.   This stage lasts rarely for more than four minutes.

2.    Stage of Depression   (Anesthesia).—During this stage the patient
becomes completely unconscious and loses all sensibility*   The corneal and
other reflexes are lost.   The pulse and respirations become slow and feeble.
The pupils are contracted.   The temperature i$ sub-normal and the skin is