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Full text of "Medical Jurisprudence And Toxicology"

MEDICAL JURISPRUDENCE

dry datura seeds in mistake for capsicum seeds. I met with a case in whibh
the whole family consisting of 8 members suffered from toxic symptoms
after eating datura fruits hut recovered the next morning. Puewka?
reports a case of mass poisoning in which the inhabits of a village m
Turkey suffered from poisoning by the seeds of Datura Stramonium having
been mixed up accidentally with the wheat flour from which bread had been
baked.

Accidental cases also occur from the injudicious use of the seeds in
medicine, as they are used by vaids and hakims in the treatment of several
diseases The seeds are reputed to have an aphrodisiac property. Medi-
cated ghee is prepared with the seeds for local application. The juice of
datura leaves is used to subdue pain and inflammation in rheumatism. If
applied to an abraded surface, it may produce poisonous symptoms.

The active principle of datura is excreted unchanged in the urine almost
immediately on its administration and the excretion is completed in ten to
twenty hours. It is, therefore, advisable to preserve urine in cases of datura
poisoning, since the urine will show the active principle on chemical analysis,
while the stomach wash may not occasionally respond to the tests.

The seeds of Datura resist putrefaction for a long time, but the
mydriatic principle contained in them appears to be destroyed by putre-
factive changes in the body, although it can be obtained after some lapse of
time in the vomit or from the earth upon which the patient has vomited.
Five persons of Police Station Mohanlalganj, Lucknow District, viz. a Hindu
Brahmin, 40 years old, a Hindu female, aged 30 years, 2 boys of 12 and 16
years respectively and a girl, 7 years old, who were administered datura by
their comrade, died on the 16th May 1921. Post-mortem examination on
the bodies of these persons was held on the 18th May, 48 hours after death.
The viscera were decomposed but preserved in the usual manner. They
were forwarded to the Chemical Examiner at Agra on the 28th July 1921.
He detected a substance having the properties of datura in the viscera of
the male, the female and the boy, aged 16 years, but failed to detect it in
the viscera of the other two. Datura was also found in the viscera of a
Mahomedan male whose body was exhumed after 5 days of burial.8

Illustrative Cases. — 1. Homicidal Poisoning by Datura. — In 1921, one Musammat
Khazanu, 16 years old, was convicted by the First Additional Sessions Judge at Buland-
shahr of having committed the murder of her husband, Net Ram, 18 years old, by
administering datura seeds in his food. On the evening of the 10th May 1921, she mixed
datura seeds in the flour and prepared some loaves. Next morning Net Ram took these
loaves with him and went out to work at his field. On the way he ate them with
onion at 8 ajn. and worked in his field till 10 a.m. when he felt giddy and his legs began
to reel. After a short while he became unconscious and was taken home, where he died
at 5 pjn., — nine hours after he had eaten the poisonous loaves. On post-mortem exami-
nation, a few suspicious seeds were sticking to the inner surface of the oesophagus which
•was rather congested. The stomach was congested. It contained four ounces of brownish
fluid in which several similar seeds were floating. The duodenum was congested, the
contents being similar to those of the stomach. The large intestine was distended with
flatus. The Civil Surgeon of Bulandshahr forwarded the viscera to the Chemical
Examiner for analysis. A substance having the properties of datura was detected in the
viscera.— K. E. v. 21ft. Khazanu, Allah. H. Crt Appl. No. 645, 1921.

2.   Datura   administered   as   an   Abortifacient. — A   case   occurred   at   Chhindwara
where a man gave some datura powder to a woman to produce abortion, but without
any desired effect.   On the contrary, the woman felt thirsty, giddy, and died three hours
later.— IIP. Chemical Examiner's Annual Report, 1949.

3.    Datura administered as a Love Philter.— A. Mahomedan boy, aged 16 years, was
cpnvicted_ of poisoning with datura five  or  six women,  and  sentenced  to  one  year's
rigorous imprisonment.   The poison was administered in peras (sweets) as a love philter
which would turn a girl, 12 years old, with whom he became infatuated, and other
women of the house in his favour.— Leader, June 13, 1923.

7.   Klinishe WpchenBchrift, Heidelberg, Oct. 15, 1949, Vol. 27, p. 672.
&   Sind Chemical Analyser's Annual Report, 1924, p. 24.