Articles from Aids To Forensic Medicine And Toxicology
Death By Suffocation
Detection Of Poisons
Evidence Of Poisoning
Wounds And Mechanical Injuries
Alcohol Ether And Chloroform
Potash Soda And Ammonia
=Caustic Potash= occurs in cylindrical sticks, is soapy to the touch,
has an acrid taste, is deliquescent, fusible by heat, soluble in water.
=Liquor Potassę= is a strong solution of caustic potash, and has a
similar reaction. =Carbonate of Potassium=, also known as potash,
pearlash, salt of tartar, is a white crystalline powder, alkaline and
caustic in taste, and very deliquescent. The bicarbonate is in
colourless prisms, which have a saline, feebly alkaline taste, and are
Symptoms.--Acrid soapy taste in mouth, burning in throat and gullet,
acute pain at pit of stomach, vomiting of bloody or brown mucus, colicky
pains, bloody stools, surface cold, pulse weak. These preparations are
not volatile, so that there is not much fear of lung trouble. In chronic
cases death occurs from stricture of the oesophagus causing starvation.
Post-Mortem Appearances.--Soapy feeling, softening, inflammation, and
corrosion of mucous membrane of mouth, pharynx, oesophagus, stomach, and
intestines. Inflammation may have extended to larynx.
Method of Extraction from the Stomach.--If the contents of the stomach
have a strong alkaline action, dilute with water, filter, and apply
Tests.--The carbonates effervesce with an acid. The salts give a
yellow precipitate with platinum chloride, and a white precipitate with
tartaric acid. They are not dissipated by heat, and give a violet colour
to the deoxidizing flame of the blowpipe. Stains on dark clothing are
red or brown.
Treatment.--Vinegar and water, lemon-juice and water, acidulated
stimulant drinks, oil, linseed-tea, opium to relieve pain, stimulants in
collapse. Do not use the stomach-tube. The glottis may be inflamed, and
if there is danger of asphyxia, tracheotomy may have to be performed.
=Carbonate of Sodium= occurs as soda and best soda, the former in
dirty crystalline masses, the latter of a purer white colour. It is also
found as 'washing soda.'
Symptoms, Post-Mortem Appearances, Treatment, and Extraction from the
Stomach.--As for potash.
Tests.--Alkaline reaction, effervesces and evolves carbonic acid when
treated with an acid; crystallizes, gives yellow tinge to blowpipe
flame. No precipitate with tartaric acid, nor with bichloride of
=Ammonia= may be taken as liquor ammonię (harts-horn), as carbonate of
ammonium, as 'Cleansel,' or as 'Scrubb's Cloudy Ammonia.'
Symptoms.--Being volatile, it attacks the air-passages, nose, eyes and
lungs, being immediately affected; profuse salivation; lips and tongue
swollen, red, and glazed. The urgent symptoms are those of suffocation.
Inhalation of the fumes of strong ammonia may lead to death from
capillary bronchitis or broncho-pneumonia. Death may result from
inflammation of the larynx and lungs. When swallowed in solution, the
symptoms are similar to those of soda and potash.
Post-Mortem Appearances.--Similar to other corrosives.
Method of Extraction from the Stomach.--The contents of the stomach,
etc., must be first distilled, the gas being conveyed into water free
Tests.--Nessler's reagent is the most delicate, a reddish-brown colour
or precipitate being produced, but ammonia may be recognized by its
pungent odour, dense fumes given off with hydrochloric acid, and strong
Treatment.--Vinegar and water. Other treatment according to symptoms.
Fatal Dose.--One drachm of strong solution.
Fatal Period (Shortest).--Four minutes.
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