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April 1970

Poison Detection in Human Organs,

Author Affiliations

Durham, NC

Arch Intern Med. 1970;125(4):735. doi:10.1001/archinte.1970.00310040159033

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Of all violent deaths those produced by poison are the most difficult to discover, to prove scientifically, and to adjudicate. The cause of death in poisoning or suspected poisoning requires the cooperative efforts of attending physician, pathologist, and toxicologist.

Toxicologic analysis of body fluids (blood, urine) or of the poison itself plays an important role in the diagnosis of accidental and acute poisoning due to certain common drugs (aspirin, phenothiazines, barbiturates, and many others) and for heavy metal (lead, arsenic, mercury, etc) and chemical determinations. Except for certain patients with chronic poisoning, treatment must be started immediately, and often it is difficult for a toxicologist to analyze a specimen of a completely unknown poison quickly. Even when this is possible, results are often delayed because of the techniques used.

The purpose of Alan Curry's book, "to detect the unknown poison," is fulfilled in easy-to-follow sequences describing the new techniques which

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