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LXII. Of a Bone found in the Pelvis of a Man at Brussels. By Terence Brady, M.D. p. 660.
Herewith was sent a draught of a bone found in the pelvis or basin of a man that died in the military hospital of Brussels, the 12th of March 1760, of a 7 days inflammatory distemper. This extraordinary concretion weighed about 20 oz., had all the external appearances of a bone, with the hardness, solidity, and specific gravity of common stone. It was chequered or marbled, so that the primitive particles of the bone were seen to be whiter and harder than the darker part it was formed on the lower extremity of the mesocolon, and probably as it grew large was carried down by its own weight into the basin, where it had no adherence to, nor connection with, any of the adjacent parts, but lay in its own very thin membrane or periosteum, between the os pubis and the bladder, somewhat to the right side. It was joined to the mesenterium by a tough, compact, membranaceous, glandulous substance, in the form of an inverted cone, whose point was firmly inserted in the cavity observed on the top: here the membranaceous fibres were turned into bones, or, vice versa, the fibres of bones degenerated into fleshy membranes: there was no intermediate cartilaginous substance to be observed. By drawing up this conic body with very little effort, the bone followed, to the great surprize of all the spectators; after which there was no further inquiry made in regard to the other viscera of the abdomen. It was only taken notice of, that the omentum was quite consumed, and the mesenterium very much swelled and schirrous.
The man that bred this monstrous bone lived to the age of 55, of which he was 28 years a musketeer in Bareith's imperial regiment. He was always strong and healthy till about 5 years before, when he began to complain of the hardness of his belly, and now and then of a suppression of urine, of which last inconveniency he could help himself by turning on his right side, and lying a little on his face in that position, the bone did no more press on his bladder. He never missed doing soldier's duty till his last sickness, about 7 days before his death.
We have examples of membranes, and of several soft parts of the body, being ossified; but Dr. B. believes there is not such a monstrous production as this to be seen any where. About 20 years before, he saw at Mantua, 2 inches of the aorta near the heart turned to bone, in a man that was a long time tormented with a violent palpitation of the heart.
LXIII. An Extraordinary Case of a Lady, who swallowed Euphorbium. By Dr. Willis, of Lincoln. p. 662.
In Dec. 1758, Mrs. Willis of Lincoln fell into a slow fever, occasioned by
too small a discharge of the lochia after lying-in, and a redundancy of milk, the consequence of her not suckling her child. On the 18th day after her delivery, by the mistake of her nurse, she took, instead of a draught that was ordered for her, 2 oz. of the tincture of euphorbium.* The shocking symptoms which immediately ensued, violent suffocation, and an intolerable burning pain. in the mouth, throat, and stomach, soon discovered the horrible mistake. Dr. W. was in the room in about 4 or 5 minutes after the accident happened, unapprised of the nature of it, and therefore the more shocked, when he found every body in tears of despair, offering no means of relief, as they had no hopes of
When made acquainted with what had happened, it occurred to him, that warm water and oil were the likeliest things to correct and expell the poison. He imagined a large quantity of warm water might probably make the patient vomit, and in some measure help to discharge the caustic tincture. He was sure the water would at the same time mitigate its violence, by diluting it, and by precipitating the acrid gum from the spirit, by which it would necessarily be hindered from touching the membranes of the stomach and bowels in so many points, and from penetrating into their substance.
There was happily a large tea kettle of water on the fire, of which, being first qualified with a proper quantity of cold water, he immediately gave the patient a basin lukewarm, and repeated it as fast as possible, conjuring her to use her utmost resolution to swallow; which she certainly did in a most surprising manner. After the 3d basin, she vomited very freely: what was brought up smelt very strong of the camphor, and seemed to contain a good deal of the tincture, with the gum separated from the spirit. She still drank on, but She still drank on, but complained of excessive burning and torture in her burnt to death.
stomach, crying out continually she was
He had then recourse to oil between whiles, in the quantity of 2 or 3 oz. at a time; and drenched her plentifully sometimes with oil and sometimes with water. She vomited very copiously, and he repeated the oil and water interchangeably, till she had taken about 2 gallons of water and a flask of oil in a very short time.†
The tincture was thus made; R. Gum. Euphorb. 3ij. Spt. Vin. rectif. 3ij. Sol. add. Camph. 3ij. The camphor was ordered to weaken the caustic quality of the tincture, which being applied. to a horse's leg without the camphor had made a blemish.
+ Dr. Sydenham, being called to a man, who had taken mercur. sublim. corros. about an hour before the doctor saw him, the poison having affected his lips, &c. only ordered water to be taken in a large quantity, and thrown up copiously in glisters. But as the corrosive sublimate of mercury is to be considered as a poison, whose caustic acrimony consists in a saline principle, and water is the proper solvent, diluent, and vehicle of all saline substances, the propriety of Sydenham's ordering water alone is sufficiently apparent. Poisons of a saline nature being dissolved in the fluids of
Imagining the deleterious draught had not had sufficient time to bring on any violent inflammation or excoriation, or to make its way into the blood, vomiting and purging, with plenty of diluents and sheathing substances, seemed the likeliest means to save the patient, if any thing could be hoped to succeed in so perilous a situation. Dr. W. therefore ordered a mild but operative emetic of pulv. rad. ipecacuan. and a mixture with spermaceti and oil to be taken occasionally; still following up the patient with oil and water. He had reason to expect the emetic would also purge as well as vomit, and not only clear the stomach of the remains of the poisonous draught, but likewise carry downwards what portion of it might have passed through the pylorus by the contraction and agitation of the ventricle on the preceding vomiting. The apothecary demurred at the emetic, and objected the danger of its aggravating the effects of the poison by its stimulus and irritation. Though Dr. W. was not in the least convinced by the objection, yet, from an apprehension of the reflections which might probably be made after the tragical scene which seemed to be inevitable, he was staggered in his proceeding, and wished the objection had not been started. His brother, observing his uneasiness, asked him if she should send for Dr. Dymock. He gladly accepted this offer, as it rid him of his perplexity, and would give satisfaction to all concerned to have the best advice. In the mean time, he plied the patient with oil and water alternately, with which she vomited; but still grievously complained of a burning heat in the stomach and bowels. Her breath and all she vomited smelt very strong of the camphor. Her pulse was moderate, and not much quickened. He had now given her about a gallon more of water, and half a flask more of oil, when Dr. Dymock arrived. On informing him of the particulars of the case, he without hesitation ordered an emetic
the stomach and intestines, do not confine their ravages to these parts only, but are apt to enter the absorbent vessels, and insinuate themselves into the road of the circulation. Water is here a good antidote, as it dilutes such substances, washes them off the sensible membranes, destroys their acrimony, and readily passing through all sorts of canals, soon carries them out of the body. But the case is otherwise with gummy resinous poisons, such as euphorbium. These being indissoluble in water, are not so apt to enter the absorbent vessels, and pass into the blood, but by their acrimony shut up the orifices of those canals, and preclude a passage. Therefore oil here should be called in to the assistance of water. For the caustic resinous substance of euphorbium being precipitated or separated from the spirit, and formed into clots by the water, would still be apt to stick to the tender nervous membranes of the stomach and bowels, and by its intolerable acrimony cause violent velli. cations, inflammations, and gangrene. But the oil contributes greatly to prevent these fatal effects by sheathing the corrosive acrimony of the poison, preventing its adhesion to the delicate lining membranes of these first passages, and defending them from the violence of its attacks; while at the same time it promotes the discharge of their contents. These qualities of oil also render it very serviceable in other species of poison.—Orig.*
* Where metallic salts have been swallowed in poisonous quantities, the vegetable or mineral alkali should be added to the water and oil; or a solution of soap in water should be given.
of vin. ipecacuan. which was immediately given: but the patient complained more and more of an inward burning heat, which made it necessary to supply her with more water before the emetic operated. It had however in a short time the desired effect, and operated plentifully both by vomit and stool, especially the latter way. The stools, which continued to be discharged for near an hour, without any griping pain, very manifestly discovered both camphor and oil being mixed with them. The purging now began gradually to abate, and soon after the burning heat in the region of the stomach became more tolerable, and insensibly got better, the camphor being no longer perceptible in the breath or evacuations. Her drink now was water with the addition of a little milk.
The patient's spirits, which, by means of the great irritation and feverish tumult the caustic tincture had excited, kept up surprisingly, now began to fail her, and she was with difficulty got into bed: where, after complaining for a short time only of a soreness in the first passages, she lay sweating profusely for 4 hours in a very low desponding condition. A gentle opiate. was exhibited, which took effect; and after a sound sleep of 5 hours, the patient waked very easy, took some of the spermaceti mixture, and had another sleep of 3 hours. She now found herself free from all her complaints; the previous slow fever, as well as the effects of the poisonous tincture, being entirely carried off. It is remarkable, that the patient found herself, for 4 days successively, in so happy a state of ease and tranquillity, as she had never before experienced, and to this day enjoys a perfect state of health.
The following observations, which this case naturally suggests, seem (says Dr. W.) to deserve attention.
1st. That in any similar accidents of swallowing corrosive poisonous substances, a quick and resolute administration of these simple bodies, water and oil, in a large quantity, seems to be the most effectual method of preventing any bad consequences, and far preferable to the numerous boasted antidotes which have been handed down to us. 2dly. That an emetic may be more safely and effectually administered, and its operation waited for, after the acrimony of the poison has been sheathed and blunted, and the coats of the stomach defended from its attacks by a liberal use of water and oil, than immediately after it is swallowed. 3dly. That as the slow fever and redundancy of milk, as well as the poison, were carried off by the copious discharge excited in the easy manner above-mentioned; might we not often hope for success in fevers occasioned by similar causes, plenitude and obstruction, from plentiful evacuations, brought on after the same manner, by simple, diluent, and sheathing medicines? 4thly.. The camphor was undoubtedly of great service in curbing the destructive effects of the euphorbium, by blunting its acrimony, and soothing the nerves into an in-. sensibility of irritation, and consequently an incapacity of spasmodic affections..
Dr. W. had tried the tinct. euphorb. cum camphorâ on a horse's leg several times, and found it not near so caustic as without the camphor. And it is well known how much camphor involves the spiculæ, corrects the acrimony, and mitigates the effects of cantharides, saccharum Saturni, and rough, mercurial, and antimonial preparations. 5thly, To water and oil therefore we may justly add camphor as a powerful corrector and expeller of poisons in general. This it probably effectuates, 1st, by blunting the acrimony; 2dly, by calming the nervous system, and securing it from spasmodic tumult and convulsion, which may be a consequence of its sheathing quality; 3dly, by its extreme subtilty and volatility, by which it freely penetrates the smallest recesses of the body, and powerfully promotes a diaphoresis. Some late instances of the effects of camphor in poisonous cases greatly confirm this account.
These 3 simple bodies then, water, oil, and camphor, challenge the first place among the antidotes hitherto discovered, both for internal and external use, and are much more to be depended on than any of the elaborate compositions calculated for this purpose by the ancients, as the Theriac. Androm. Mithridat. Conf. Paulin. &c.
LXIV. Of Artificial Cold produced at Petersburg. By Dr. Himsel. Translated from the French by James Parsons, M. D., F. R. S. p. 670.
On Decem. 14, 1759, they had at Petersburg the most excessive cold weather that ever was known, even to 205° of De Lisle's thermometer. At that time Professor Braun repeated Fahrenheit's experiments in order to produce excessive cold by means of spirit of nitre combined with snow. He saw with surprize the quicksilver fall considerably in the thermometer, and descend even to 470° at last: there the quicksilver remained fixed in the open air for the space of a a quarter of an hour, and did not begin to rise till it was carried into a warm room. The immobility of the quicksilver made him conjecture that it might be frozen, or become a solid body. But as Mr. Braun had not broken the glasses, he could only at that time form a conjecture. Dec. 25 in the morning, between 9 and 10, De Lisle's thermometer was at the 199th degree of cold; and Mr. Braun, as well as Professor Apinus, then repeated this experiment. As soon as the former had observed the quicksilver immoveable in the thermometer he broke the glass; and he found the quicksilver frozen, but not entirely; for in the middle of the glass ball there was a small portion yet remaining fluid. Mr. Epinus's thermometer fell with extreme rapidity almost to the 500th degree, and in breaking the glass from below, he found the quicksilver contained in it absolutely frozen. Both these gentlemen found that the quicksilver, thus rendered solid, bore hammering and extension, like other metals; but being afterwards exposed to the open air, it soon recovered its former fluidity. Mr. pinus