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Death By Hanging

In hanging, death occurs by asphyxia, as in drowning. Sensibility is

soon lost, and death takes place in four or five minutes. The eyes in

some cases are brilliant and staring, tongue swollen and livid, blood or

bloody froth is found about the mouth and nostrils, and the hands are

clenched. In other cases the countenance is placid, with an almost

entire absence of the signs just given. The mark on the neck, which may

more or less interrupted by the beard, shows the course of the cord,

which in hanging is obliquely round the neck following the line of the

jaw, but straight round in strangulation. In judicial hanging, death is

not due to asphyxiation, but, owing to the long drop, the cervical

vertebræ are dislocated, and the spinal cord injured so high up that

almost instant death takes place. On dissection the muscles and

ligaments of the windpipe may be found stretched, bruised, or torn, and

the inner coats of the carotid arteries are sometimes found divided. In

ordinary suicidal hanging there may be entire absence of injury to the

soft parts about the neck, the length of the drop modifying these

appearances. The mark of the cord is not a sign of hanging, is a purely

cadaveric phenomenon, and may be produced some hours after death.