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Full text of "Medical Jurisprudence And Toxicology"

734                                                MEDICAL JURISPRUDENCE

Hospital where he died in about 15 minutes.58 The Chemical Examiner of Madras W
reports two cases of suicidal poisoning by potassium cyanide. In one, a man and his wife
took the poison together after going to bed, and died in about 40 minutes. There was
neither vomiting nor purging. On post-mortem examination the mucous membranes of
the stomachs were congested but not very markedly so. In the other case death was
almost instantaneous. The Chemical Analyser of Bombay w reports a case in which two
young persons, a young man and his wife, were lying in a room in the city of Bombay
apparently in a dying condition. They were removed to the J. J. Hospital, but expired on
the way. Post-mortem examination revealed as intensely congested and hasmorrhagic
condition of the stomach and other viscera and white masses smelling o£ hydrocyanic
acid were found in the stomachs. Chemical analysis confirmed this finding.

These preparations are rarely used with homicidal intent, as they are
easy of detection owing to their characteristic odour and perceptible taste,

In the report of the Chemical Examiner, Bengal, for the year 1906, Choonilal Bose 61
records a case of theft and murder in which a woman of the town of Calcutta was seen
drinking with a stranger in her room one evening; shortly afterwards she was dis-
covered by the other inmates of the house lying on the floor and she died soon after•»
wards. The stranger had already absconded. The post-mortem appearances were con-,
sistent with death from heart failure. Hydrocyanic acid was detected in the viscera.
Hydrocyanic acid and alcohol were also detected in. the viscera of a public woman, aged
25, of Calcutta. She entertained visitors with drink till midnight and was found dead
in her room on the following morning with all her ornaments missing,<w The motive of
the crime was apparently theft.

A man, aged 23, tried to poison a girl, aged 18, by the contents of a so-called Indian
"poison bladder" which contained in one 2 c.cm, ampoule 0.3 gramme of hydrocyanic
acid in solution and then murdered her by hanging.^ A case(I4 is also recorded in which
Dr. T. C. Oakley, 47 years old, murdered his daughter, 4 years old, by administering
hydrocyanic acid, and then committed suicide by taking the same acid.

A few homicidal cases of poisoning by potassium cyanide have also been recorded,
A Hindu female child, aged about 10 years, was said to have been poisoned by her
father with potassium cyanide. He afterwards committed suicide by taking the same
poison. Two persons used to commit murders especially of prostitutes by administering
potassium cyanide in liquor and then used to deprive them of their money and jewel-
lery.65 In his annual report for the year 1950, the Chemical Examiner, Madras, mentions
a case, where a woman administered potassium cyanide mixed with some arrack to her
husband, who died in half an hour.

-   Oil of bitter almonds and cherry-laurel water  (aqua laurocerasi)  are
used as flavouring agents, and have caused accidental poisoning.

Accidental poisonings have occurred from the inhalation of the vapours
of the acid used as a fumigating agent, from the ingestion of the pharma-
copoeial acid in mistake for some other drug, from its application to a wound
or a raw surface, and from the injection of potassium cyanide into the
rectum.

Cases of cattle poisoning are known to occur through eating juar kadvi
and alsi (linseed) plant. This is due to the natural development of a cyano-
genetic glycoside, particularly in the -young plants, which, under certain
circumstances, break up and yields hydrocyanic acid, Bagchi and
Ganguli66 have demonstrated that the linseed plant (Linum usitatissimum)
contains a cyanogenetic glycoside in all stages of its growth, but the linseed
flowers with immature seeds contain the maximum amount of the cyano-
genetic glycoside producing as much as 0.69 per cent of free hydrocyanic
acid, and about half a pound of these flowers is sufficient to prove fatal to a

58,   Choonilal Bose, Ind. Med. Gaz.t Aug. 1915. p. 304.

59.   Annual Report, 1922, p. 3.

^' A?aual Deport, 1928, p. 6; see also C.P, and UP, Chem. Examiner's Annual Hep.,
1940, p. 5.

61.   Ind. Med. Goz., Oct. 1907, p. 394.

62.   Bengal Chemical Examiner's Annual Report, 1929, p  11

6?\*fc5j°5r2^f £?$*• derichtl Med, 1931, XI, 48-53; abstr.; Deuts. Ztits. f. d ges.
gerichtLMed., 1932, XIX, 27 ; The Med.-Leg. and Criminal. Rev., Jan, 1933, p, 85,

64.   Phar. Jour., Jan. 13, 1945, p, 30.

65.   Beng. Chem. Exam. Annual Rep., 1930, pp. 11-12

66.   Ind, Jour. Vetr. Sc. and Animal Husbandry, VoL IX, Part I, March 1939, p. 61.