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The Mineral Acids
These are sulphuric, nitric, and hydrochloric acids.
Symptoms of Poisoning by the Mineral Acids.--Acid taste in the mouth,
with violent burning pain extending into the oesophagus and stomach, and
commencing immediately on the poison being swallowed; eructations,
constant retching, and vomiting of brown, black, or yellow matter
containing blood, coagulated mucus, epithelium, or portions of the
lining membrane of the gullet and stomach. The vomited matters are
strongly acid in reaction, and stain articles of clothing on which they
may fall. There is intense thirst and constipation, with scanty or
suppressed urine, tenesmus, and small and frequent pulse; the lips,
tongue, and inside of the mouth, are shrivelled and corroded. Exhaustion
succeeds, and the patient dies either collapsed, convulsed, or
suffocated, the intellect remaining clear to the last. After recovering
from the acute form of poisoning, the patient may ultimately die from
starvation, due to stricture of the oesophagus, stomach, etc.
Post-Mortem Appearances Common to the Mineral Acids.--Stains and
corrosions about the mouth, chin, and fingers, or wherever the acid has
come in contact. The inside of the mouth, fauces, and oesophagus, is
white and corroded, yellow or dark brown, and shrivelled. Epiglottis
contracted or swollen. Stomach filled with brown, yellow, or black
glutinous liquid; its lining membrane is charred or inflamed, and the
vessels are injected. Pylorus contracted. Perforation, when it takes
place, is on the posterior aspect; the apertures are circular, and
surrounded by inflammation and black extravasation. The blood in the
large vessels may be coagulated.
Avoid mistaking gastric or duodenal ulcer, with or without perforation,
for the effects of a corrosive poison.
Treatment.--Calcined magnesia or the carbonate or bicarbonate of
sodium, mixed with milk or some mucilaginous liquid, are the best
antidotes. In the absence of these, chalk, whiting, milk, oil,
soap-suds, etc., will be found of service. The stomach-pump should not
be used. If the breathing is impeded, tracheotomy may be necessary.
Injuries of external parts by the acid must be treated as burns.
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