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in the healing art. This consideration, I should hope, will be regarded as a sufficient apology for my pursuing a mode of inquiry by means of experiments on brute animals, of which we might well question the propriety, if no other purpose were to be answered by it than the gratification of curiosity.
In my former communication on this subject, I entered into a detailed account of the majority of my experiments. This I conceived necessary, because in the outset of the inquiry I had been led to expect that even the same poison might not always operate precisely in the same manner; but I have since had abundant proof, that in essential circumstances there is but little variety in the effects produced by poisons of any description, when employed on animals of the same, or even of different species, beyond what may be referred to the difference in the quantity, or mode of application of the poison, or of the age and power of the animal. This will explain the reason of my not detailing, in the present communication, so many of the individual experiments from which my conclusions are drawn, as in the former; at the same time I have not been less careful to avoid drawing general conclusions from only a limited number of facts. Should these conclusions prove fewer, and of less importance than might be expected, such defects will, I trust, be regarded with indulgence; at least by those, who are aware of the difficulty of conducting a series of physiological experiments; of the time, which they necessarily occupy; of the numerous sources of fallacy and failure which exist; and of the laborious attention to the minutest circumstances, which is in consequence necessary in order to avoid being led into
II. Experiments with the Woorara.
In a former experiment, I succeeded in recovering an animal, which was apparently dead from the influence of the essential oil of bitter almonds, by continuing respiration artificially until the impression of the poison upon the brain had ceased; but a similar experiment on an animal under the influence of the woorara was not attended with the same success. Some circumstances led me to believe, that the result of the experiment with the woorara might have been different, if it had been made with certain precautions; but I was unable at that time to repeat it, in consequence of my stock of the poison being exhausted. I have since, however, been able to procure a fresh supply, and I shall relate two experiments which I have made with it. In one of these, an animal apparently dead from the woorara, was made to recover, notwithstanding the functions of the brain appeared to be wholly suspended for a very long period of time; in the other, though ultimate recovery did not take place, the circulation was maintained for several hours after the brain had ceased to perform its office.
Experiment 1. Some woorara was inserted into a wound in a young cat. She became affected by it in a few minutes, and lay in a drowsy and half sensible state, in which she continued at the end of an hour and fifteen minutes, when the application of the poison was repeated. In four minutes after the second application, respiration entirely ceased, and the animal appeared to be dead; but the heart was still felt acting about one hundred and forty times in a minute. She was placed in.
a temperature of 85 of FAHRENHEIT's thermometer, and the lungs were artificially inflated about forty times in a minute. The heart continued acting regularly.
When the artificial respiration had been kept up for forty minutes, the pupils of the eyes were observed to contract and dilate on the increase or diminution of light; saliva had flowed from the mouth, and a small quantity of tears was collected between the eye and eye-lids; but the animal continued perfectly motionless and insensible.
At the end of an hour and forty minutes, from the same period, there were slight involuntary contractions of the muscles, and every now and then there was an effort to breathe. The involuntary motions continued, and the efforts to breathe became more frequent. At the end of another hour, the animal, for the first time, gave some signs of sensibility when roused, and made spontaneous efforts to breathe twentytwo times in a minute. The artificial respiration was discontinued. She lay, as if in a state of profound sleep, for forty minutes, when she suddenly awoke, and walked away. On the following day she appeared slightly indisposed; but she gradually recovered, and is at this time still alive and in health.
Experiment 2. Some woorara was applied to a wound in a rabbit. The animal was apparently dead in four minutes after the application of the poison; but the heart continued acting. He was placed in a temperature of 90°, and the lungs were artificially inflated. The heart continued to act about one hundred and fifty times in a minute. For more than three hours the pulse was strong and regular; after this, it became feeble and irregular, and at the end of another hour the circulation had
entirely ceased. During this time there was no appearance of returning sensibility.
The circulation of the blood may be maintained in an animal from whom the brain has been removed for a considerable, but not for an unlimited time. We may conclude, that in the last of these experiments the animal did not recover, because the influence of the poison continued beyond the time during which the circulation may be maintained without the brain.
III. On the Effects of Arsenic.
When an animal is killed by arsenic taken internally, the stomach is found bearing marks of inflammation; and it is a very general opinion, 1, that this inflammation is the cause of death: 2, that it is the consequence of the actual contact of the arsenic with the internal coat of the stomach. But in several cases I have found the inflammation of the stomach so slight, that on a superficial examination it might have been easily overlooked; and in most of my experiments with this poison death has taken place in too short a time for it to be considered as the result of inflammation: and hence we may conclude, that the first of these opinions is incorrect; at least as a general proposition.
Many circumstances conspire to show that the second of these opinions also is unfounded.
In whatever way the poison is administered, the inflammation is confined to the stomach and intestines; I have never seen any appearance of it in the pharynx or oesophagus.
Mr. HOME informed me, that in an experiment made by Mr. HUNTER and himself, in which arsenic was applied to a Ee
wound in a dog, the animal died in twenty-fours, and the stomach was found to be considerably inflamed.
I repeated this experiment several times, taking the precaution always of applying a bandage to prevent the animal licking the wound. The result was, that the inflammation of the stomach was commonly more violent and more immediate, than when the poison was administered internally, and that it preceded any appearance of inflammation of the wound.* Some experiments are already before the public, which led me to conclude that vegetable poisons, when applied to wounded surfaces, affect the system by passing into the circulation through the divided veins. From this analogy, and from all the circumstances just mentioned, it may be inferred that arsenic, in whatever way it is administered, does not produce its effects even on the stomach until it is carried into the blood.
But the blood is not necessary to life, except so far as a constant supply of it is necessary for the maintenance of the functions of the vital organs. The next object of inquiry therefore is, when arsenic has entered the circulation, on what organs does it operate, so as to occasion death?
When arsenic is applied to an ulcerated surface, it produces a slough, not by acting chemically, like caustics in general, but by destroying the vitality of the part to which it is applied,
• Since the greater part of my experiments on this subject were made, I have seen an account of an inaugural Dissertation on the Effects of Arsenic, by Dr. JAGER of Stuttgard. Dr. JAEGER has come to conclusions similar to those above stated, that in an animal killed by arsenic, the inflammation of the stomach is not the cause of death, and that the poison does not produce its fatal effects until it has entered the circulation. I have to regret that I have had no opportunity of seeing the original of this Dissertation.