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TWENTY-FOUR TO SEVENTY-TWO HOURS after death a slight green color is visible over the centre of the abdomen. The eyeballs are soft and yield to external pressure.
THREE TO FIVE DAYS after death the green color of the abdomen becomes intensified and general, spreading if the body be exposed to the air or buried in the ground in the following order: genitals, breast, face, neck, upper and lastly lower extremities.
EIGHT TO TEN DAYS after death the discoloration becomes more intense, the face and neck presenting a shade of reddishgreen. The ramifications of the superficial veins on the neck, breast, and limbs become very apparent. Finally the patch congregate. Gases begin to be developed and distend the abdomen and hollow organs and to form under the skin in the subcutaneous and intermuscular tissue. The cornea falls in and becomes concave. The sphincter ani relaxes.
FOURTEEN TO TWENTY-ONE DAYS after death the discoloration over the whole body becomes intensely green, with brownish-red or brownish-black patches. The body is bloated and appears greatly increased in size from the development of gases within the abdomen, thorax, and scrotum, and also in the cellular tissue of the body generally. The swollen condition of the eyelids, lips, nose, and cheeks is usually of such extent as to obliterate the features and to destroy the identity of the body. The epidermis peels off in patches, while in certain parts, more particularly the feet, it will be raised in blisters filled with red or greenish liquid, the cuticle underneath frequently appearing blanched. The color of the iris is lost. The nails easily separate and the hair becomes loosened.
FOURTH TO SIXTH MONTH after death the thorax and abdomen burst and the sutures of the skull give way from the development of gases within the head. The viscera appear pulpy, or perhaps disappear, leaving the bones exposed. The bones of the extremities separate at the joints. At an advanced stage the soft parts gradually disappear.
In giving an opinion as to how long a time has elapsed since death when a body has undergone marked putrefactive changes, we must consider carefully not only the conditions of the organs, but the mode of death and the “surroundings.” By these I mean the quantity of clothing worn, the depth of the grave in which the body has been interred, the season of the year, the heat and moisture of the atmosphere. The question sometimes presents itself to the medical examiner, Of two persons found dead, which died first? The importance of this point was well illustrated in the “Lizzie Borden case.” By a careful consideration of all the conditions presented by each body in the ways I have indicated, the question will not ordinarily be a difficult one to decide.
BY HEAT AND COLD,
INSOLATION IN ITS MEDICO-LEGAL ASPECTS.
BY ENOCH V. STODDARD, A.M., M.D., Emeritus Professor of Materia Medica and Hygiene in the University of Buffalo; Member of the Medical Society of the State of New York and of the Central New York Medical Association; Fellow of the New York Academy of Medicine and of the American Academy of Medicine; Late Surgeon 65th Regt. N. Y. Vols,; Late Health Commissioner, Rochester, N. Y.; etc.,
DEATH BY HEAT AND COLD.
TEMPERATURE OF THE BODY.
THE production and regulation of heat in the body is a problem by no means elucidated. We consider heat production to be of internal origin, by a complex process involving tissue metamorphosis, chemical changes in nutrient elements, muscular movements, etc. Heat regulation is accomplished, not only by variation in the loss of heat by the body, but by what is more important, variations in the amount of heat generated. It is an accepted physiological conclusion that there exists in the body a thermotaxic nervous mechanism which controls its normal, as well as its abnormal, manifestations of heat.
The average temperature of the body in health is 37° C. (98.6° F.), in the axilla. Taken in the vagina or rectum, .9° C. (1.3° F.) higher is noted. The daily average range of variation is about 1° C. (1.8° F.).
In disease or injury considerable variations occur; very high, as well as very low, temperatures are met. In severe neuroses and some forms of malarial disease a temperature of 42.2° C. (115° F.) has been recorded, and after an injury 71° C. (122° F.).'
Very low temperatures are reported in several cases of acute alcoholism, accompanied by exposure to cold, where a temperature of 28.8° C. (75° F.) in the rectum was noted, recovery following.'
Such extreme temperatures, though authentic, are exceptional.
Very high temperatures in febrile conditions are borne because remitting; and low temperatures, subject to periods of elevation, are met in wasting and other conditions. Very high and very low temperatures are also noted, just before
Reported by Teale, Lon. Clin. ? Reineke. Brit. and For. Med. Society, Feb. 26th, 1875.
and Surg. Rev., April, 1876.