ANIMAL POISONS. The stings of insects, the bites of scorpions, tarantulas, snakes, and rabid dogs, are comprised in this group. Their action is complicated. The local effects are irritation, redness, swelling, and or even gangrene. The poison after entering the circulation may disorganize the blood, causing jaundice, hTmo globinuria, hemorrhage into the tissues, and cyanosis. There arc in addition general symp toms, such as vertigo, dyspurea, prostration, car diac paralysis, and finally collapse. The local treatment of such bites consists in the applica tion of a tight band or ligature above the wound to prevent absorption; the destruction by the knife or cautery of the area containing the poison after removing as much as possible by suction; and the administration of stimulants such as ammonia, alcohol, or strychnine, to keep up the strength until the poison is eliminated. Quite recently a serum known as antivenene has been given in snake-bites with excellent results. See GLANDERS; HYDROPHOBIA; SERUM TnERAPY.
The medico-legal duties of the medical examin er in cases of fatal poisoning. suicidal or homicidal, are: ( 1) to establish the presence or absence of conditions characteristic of any poison; (2) to preserve all necessary material for subsequent analytical examination, and to avoid introducing possible causes of error; (3) to recognize or exclude natural causes of death; (4) to perform experiments on animals, if neces sary, in order to demonstrate the toxic effect of the substance separated by the chemical; and (5) to record carefully all observations and state clearly the conclusions as to the cause of death. Difficult cases constantly arise ill which the post-mortem appearances are not decisive, or are consistent either with disease or poison. In performing an autopsy for medico-legal pur poses, the identity of the body must first be es tablished and the autopsy should be done in the presence of witnesses. The organs and tines
to be removed and preserved for future analysis are deposited separately in clear glass jars, which are sealed. The tissues and organs to be removed are the stomach, and intestines ligated and unopened; the entire liver ; the blood from the heart and vessels; both kidneys; the urine; the entire brain ; a large piece of muscle from the thigh; and portions- of the Done and spleen. Important information as to the tinge of absorp tion is evidenced by the distribution of poison in the various tissues. The unabsorbed residue is found in the stomach and intestines. Poisons in both stomach and liver indicate a short in terval between the taking and death; while poison in the liver and other Organs, with none in the stomach, indicates a greater interval. Most poisons remain in the liver after disappearing from the stomach and remain longer in the muscles and bones than in any other tissue. Poisons are found ill their greatest purity in the kidneys and urine. Proof of poisoning has been established by chemists by analysis of muscles or one kidney, when all the other tissues have been destroyed by the suspected parties. Be sides the examination for poisons and their lesions, every 'organ must be examined for all natural causes of death, and in particular the causes of sudden death should be rigidly ex cluded. Consult: Witthans and Becker, Medical Jurisprudence. Forensic Medicine, and Toxicol ogy (New York. 1S94) ; Peterson. Legal Medicine and Toxicology ( Philadelphia. 1 903) ; Brunda;4e, A Manual of Toxicology (New York, 1901 ). See AtrzorsY ; MEDICAL JURISPRUDENCE.