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Article
February 6, 1892

Electrical Death is Practically Instantaneous.

JAMA. 1892;XVIII(6):175. doi:10.1001/jama.1892.02411100023008

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Abstract

—A medical declaration in reference to the recent execution by electricity at Sing Sing prison, in New York, has been officially filed in the appropriate bureau. It is signed by Dr. Ira Van Gieson, who had charge of the autopsy. He writes: "Rigor mortis was almost completely, if not entirely absent, except in the right leg. There were no discolorations, contusions or marks, except at the knee, where the electrode was applied and at the cheeks, where there were marks corresponding with the restraining straps." He further expresses the opinion that a current of 1,400 to 1,600 volts does not do any damage to the internal viscera, muscles or tissues. The thermic effects of the electrodes were limited to the epidermic layer, the cutis vera not being appreciably altered. The readings of the volt metre in this case averaged 1,716 volts for the four contacts made; and the average duration

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