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surgery. She came home afterward and laughingly told me

time:2023-12-03 02:41:56 source:Track and trace network author:science read:941次

A case of self-mutilation by a soldier who was confined in the guard-house for drunkenness is related by Beck. The man borrowed a knife from a comrade and cut off the whole external genital apparatus, remarking as he flung the parts into a corner: "Any----fool can cut his throat, but it takes a soldier to cut his privates off!" Under treatment he recovered, and then he regretted his action.

surgery. She came home afterward and laughingly told me

Sinclair describes an Irishman of twenty-five who, maniacal from intemperance, first cut off one testicle with a wire nail, and then the second with a trouser-buckle. Not satisfied with the extent of his injuries he drove a nail into his temple, first through the skin by striking it with his hand, and then by butting it against the wall,--the latter maneuver causing his death.

surgery. She came home afterward and laughingly told me

There is on record the history of an insane medical student in Dublin who extirpated both eyes and threw them on the grass. He was in a state of acute mania, and the explanation offered was that as a "grinder" before examination he had been diligently studying the surgery of the eye, and particularly that relating to enucleation. Another Dublin case quoted by the same authority was that of a young girl who, upon being arrested and committed to a police-cell in a state of furious drunkenness, tore out both her eyes. In such cases, as a rule, the finger-nails are the only instrument used. There is a French case also quoted of a woman of thirty-nine who had borne children in rapid succession. While suckling a child three months old she became much excited, and even fanatical, in reading the Bible. Coming to the passage, "If thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, etc.," she was so impressed with the necessity of obeying the divine injunction that she enucleated her eye with a meat-hook. There is mentioned the case of a young woman who cut off her right hand and cast it into the fire, and attempted to enucleate her eyes, and also to hold her remaining hand in the fire. Haslam reports the history of a female who mutilated herself by grinding glass between her teeth.

surgery. She came home afterward and laughingly told me

Channing gives an account of the case of Helen Miller, a German Jewess of thirty, who was admitted to the Asylum for Insane Criminals at Auburn, N.Y., in October, 1872, and readmitted in June, 1875, suffering from simulation of hematemesis. On September 25th she cut her left wrist and right hand; in three weeks she became again "discouraged" because she was refused opium, and again cut her arms below the elbows, cleanly severing the skin and fascia, and completely hacking the muscles in every direction. Six weeks later she repeated the latter feat over the seat of the recently healed cicatrices. The right arm healed, but the left showed erysipelatous inflammation, culminating in edema, which affected the glottis to such an extent that tracheotomy was performed to save her life. Five weeks after convalescence, during which her conduct was exemplary, she again cut her arms in the same place. In the following April, for the merest trifle, she again repeated the mutilation, but this time leaving pieces of glass in the wounds. Six months later she inflicted a wound seven inches in length, in which she inserted 30 pieces of glass, seven long splinters, and five shoe-nails. In June, 1877, she cut herself for the last time. The following articles were taken from her arms and preserved: Ninety-four pieces of glass, 34 splinters, two tacks, five shoe-nails, one pin, and one needle, besides other things which were lost,--making altogether about 150 articles.

"Needle-girls," etc.--A peculiar type of self-mutilation is the habit sometimes seen in hysteric persons of piercing their flesh with numerous needles or pins. Herbolt of Copenhagen tells of a young Jewess from whose body, in the course of eighteen months, were extracted 217 needles. Sometime after 100 more came from a tumor on the shoulder. As all the symptoms in this case were abdominal, it was supposed that during an epileptic seizure this girl had swallowed the needles; but as she was of an hysteric nature it seems more likely they had entered the body through the skin. There is an instance in which 132 needles were extracted from a young lady's person. Caen describes a woman of twenty-six, while in prison awaiting trial, succeeding in committing suicide by introducing about 30 pins and needles in the chest region, over the heart. Her method was to gently introduce them, and then to press them deeper with a prayer-book. An autopsy showed that some of the pins had reached the lungs, some were in the mediastinum, on the back part of the right auricle; the descending vena cave was perforated, the anterior portion of the left ventricle was transfixed by a needle, and several of the articles were found in the liver. Andrews removed 300 needles from the body of an insane female. The Lancet records an account of a suicide by the penetration of a darning-needle in the epigastrium. There were nine punctures in this region, and in the last the needle was left in situ and fixed by worsted. In 1851 the same journal spoke of an instance in which 30 pins were removed from the limbs of a servant girl. It was said that while hanging clothes, with her mouth full of pins, she was slapped on the shoulder, causing her to start and swallow the pins. There is another report of a woman who swallowed great numbers of pins. On her death one pound and nine ounces of pins were found in her stomach and duodenum. There are individuals known as "human pin-cushions," who publicly introduce pins and needles into their bodies for gain's sake.

The wanderings of pins and needles in the body are quite well known. Schenck records the finding of a swallowed pin in the liver. Haller mentions one that made its way to the hand. Silvy speaks of a case in which a quantity of swallowed pins escaped through the muscles, the bladder, and vagina; there is another record in which the pins escaped many years afterward from the thigh. The Philosophical Transactions contain a record of the escape of a pin from the skin of the arm after it had entered by the mouth. Gooch, Ruysch, Purmann, and Hoffman speak of needle-wanderings. Stephenson gives an account of a pin which was finally voided by the bladder after forty-two years' sojourn in a lady's body. On November 15, 1802, the celebrated Dr. Lettsom spoke of an old lady who sat on a needle while riding in a hackney coach; it passed from the injured leg to the other one, whence it was extracted. Deckers tells of a gentleman who was wounded in the right hypochondrium, the ball being taken thirty years afterward from the knee. Borellus gives an account of a thorn entering the digit and passing out of the body by the anus.

Strange as it may seem, a prick of a pin not entering a vital center or organ has been the indirect cause of death. Augenius writes of a tailor who died in consequence of a prick of a needle between the nail and flesh of the end of the thumb. Amatus Lusitanus mentions a similar instance in an old woman, although, from the symptoms given, the direct cause was probably tetanus. In modern times Cunninghame, Boring, and Hobart mention instances in which death has followed the prick of a pin: in Boring's case the death occurred on the fifth day.

Manufacture of Crippled Beggars.--Knowing the sympathy of the world in general for a cripple, in some countries low in the moral scale, voluntary mutilation is sometimes practiced by those who prefer begging to toiling. In the same manner artificial monstrosities have been manufactured solely for gain's sake. We quite often read of these instances in lay-journals, but it is seldom that a case comes under the immediate observation of a thoroughly scientific mind. There is, however, on record a remarkable instance accredited to Jamieson of Shanghai who presented to the Royal College of Surgeons a pair of feet with the following history: Some months previously a Chinese beggar had excited much pity and made a good business by showing the mutilated stumps of his legs, and the feet that had belonged to them slung about his neck. While one day scrambling out of the way of a constable who had forbidden this gruesome spectacle, he was knocked down by a carriage in the streets of Shanghai, and was taken to the hospital, where he was questioned about the accident which deprived him of his feet. After selling the medical attendant his feet he admitted that he had purposely performed the amputations himself, starting about a year previously. He had fastened cords about his ankles, drawing them as tightly as he could bear them, and increasing the pressure every two or three days. For a fortnight his pain was extreme, but when the bones were bared his pains ceased. At the end of a month and a half he was able to entirely remove his feet by partly snapping and partly cutting the dry bone. Such cases appear to be quite common in China, and by investigation many parallels could elsewhere be found.


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