THE ?L> /
Medicine, Surgery, Obstetrics, Jurisprudence, and the Collateral Sciences; ^nir of (general gtebical Jnirllrjcnre, Jnbian anir (European. CALCUTTA, FRIDAY, JANUARY 1,
distinctly visible waiting for
IN THE PKESESTCE OF
Colonel C. L. Showers, Officiating Political Agent; AND
Dr. J. Macbeth, Superintending Staff Surgeon of Morar. To Joseph Fayrer, Esq., M.D., M.R.C.P., Lon., &c., &c. Dear Mr. Fayrer,?I have been much interested in reading, from time to time, the published accounts of your own and Dr. Shortt's There is
the action of
native, "who possesses what he believes
led to institute
experiments specific for its being tested by accidentally witnessing its efficacy in the case of a woman who had been bitten by a venomous to be
record of facts and
experiments which, by
kind and skilful co-operation of Dr. Macbeth, Staff Super-
intending Surgeon Morar, lay before you, will place you, and any other professional gentlemen whom you may think proper to associate with yourself in the enquiry, of
a specific antidote to snakenaturally an object of universal
importance. The native has communicated his secret to me, and desires to proclaim it. But, before doing so, all I wish is that the antidote, after being subjected to every test that can be devised, and to which I am prepared to submit it, shall be admitted by competent professional authority to be really a specific antidote for snake-poison, in order that I may present it
boon to the world.
case of the woman above referred to, as having brought the man and his antidote under my notice, occurred on the 1st
August last, and may be described as follows : A report being made to me that a woman, living in a village adjoining the Residency, had been bitten by a snake and was dying, I sent for the Residency Surgeon, and walked over nsyself at once, attended by a servant, with brandy, in the hope of being able to afford assistance. On arriving at the scene of the accident, I found the woman seated on the ground outside the door of her hut, under a sort of unprovided porch formed of branches and leaves, which the villagers had erected at the ?
moment to afford the
air without exposure to the
swooning fits, having
of the two
treating her was what is known among natives by the term jharna phoolcna, or to exorcise. I had never witnessed it before. It was a strange and painful spectacle. As soon as indications of the approaching swoon appeared, and the woman fell forward from her sitting posture insensible, one of the two men seized her head across the forehead and temples with one hand, the other hand supporting her head behind, and then commenced shouting some muntras, or charmed verses, into her ear, at the very top of his voice ; the other man, seated on the opposite side, taking up the last note of each cadence and prolonging it with an indescribable howl, with his mouth close to her ear. After this had been continued for some minutes without any sign of returning consciousness, the man who was supporting the woman by the head commenced shaking her violently, and slapping her and rating her vociferously, in apparent anger at her obstinacy. After some time this had the desired effect, as slowly, with convulsive gasps and other symptoms of distress, she camc to herself. In the interval
poison has been found.
the surgeon, The method resorted to
CONDUCTED AT THE GWALIOR RESIDENCY,
) Town, Yearly, Es. 12
already had eight previous to my arrival, in the interval of about two hours since she was bitten. The marks of the bite While
EXPERIMENTS ON THE ACTION OF SNAKEPOISON AND ITS ANTIDOTE,
the scene, who at once
by the bystanders to do so? the treatment of the case. He quietly put aside the charmers, reassured the woman and her relatives with an air of perfect confidence as to the safety of her life, and pounding something We then left, directing on a stone, he administered it to her. assumed?and
a report of the progress of the woman's case should be made from time to time. In about two hours another swooning
having recurred at intervals Subsequent reports announced her steady progress and complete recovery. That night she was kept forcibly awake by the instructions of the man who had administered the antidote as a precaution, on account of the long time she had been under the influence of the snake-poison fit
before he This
the nature of his
about the person who had On questioning
and I sent for him.
antidote, he was very reserved at to take him into my own service, he grew more communicative. He subsequently entered my service and revealed to me the secret of his antidote, giving me some him
of the material. So confident was he in its efficacy, that he to allow himself to be bitten by any snake; but this was
test that it hardly required the fatal example of Mr. mond's case at Melbourne to place out of the question. a
THE INDIAN MEDICAL GAZETTE. To test the
of the antidote,
however, by experiments
in corpore vili, I sought the co-operation of Dr. Macbeth, who, I was aware, took great interest in the subject; and hence the series of experiments which are recorded in the accompanying enclosure. As the last terminated some weeks ago,
(12th September,) delayed so long forwarding the account; but under the pressure of public business, entailed by the exigencies of this year's drought, I have never found a leisure hour to transmit it to you. The delay, however, has proved of material advantage to the strengthening of the case in favor of the antidote in the saving of another human life. The case is I should not have
On the 2nd
resident of Old Gwalior, a carpenter, came to the Residency, in much apparent distress, to say that his wife had been bitten by a snake, and had become insensible from the effects.
who could administer relief, he had come to I sent back my servant with him. He administered the antidote to the woman, which, as he reported on his return in the evening, had brought her round.
in my seek it.
following morning I sent to enquire how the woman was, quite recovered, her husband, the carpenter, and herself should appear at my office. They duly came the The marks of the bite were distinctly visible on the same day. woman's finger, but she had quite recovered from the effects of the poison. I had the man's deposition taken by my office moonshee, and append a translation of it, which will be found at the end of the recoi'd of experiments. The importance of the subject may bo gathered from the fact recorded in the last Oude Administration Report, that 1.127 persons died from snake-bites during the past year, and, again, in the Central Provinces Administration Report, that 1,874 had died from the same cause during the three preceding years. These figures, referring to isolated districts of India, may afford some approximate idea of the mortality arising from this cause throughout India and all other serpent-infested countries of The
and desired that if
the East. The boon to
humanity then, if the efficacy of the antidote be established, could hardly be over-estimated.?Yours very truly, C. L. Showers. Gwalior, 25th October, 1868,
full-grown pariah slut, seemingly in perfect hcaltb> over to the kelaree, who administered his antidote piece of meat, which the slut swallowed in our presence at A
"was on a
then bitten on the inner side of the left
thigh by a fresh cobra over four feet long, which closed its jaws upon the place, holding on for some seconds. Several other attempts were made to make the cobra bite again, but it is not certain whether a second bite was given or not.
I lie slut was then tied a11 np ; meat was offered to her about afterwards, at the instance of the kelaree, which ?be refused. He subsequently gave this as a reason why he thought his antidote had not been quite powerful enough, but said hour
that the remaining effects of the poison would pass off in a few hours. The slut showed no symptoms of distress nor lethargy for two hours, after which she lay down and
drowsy. The kelaree then administered a second dose of his antidote, which, in the course of an hour, entirely dissipated all drowsiness and weakness. At 1 p.m., the slut, having been for about an hour and a half lively and
loose, and ran away to the neighbouring village to which it belonged.* 4. Another dog, full-grown, in good condition and apparent health, was bitten at 8-48-50 a.m. by a cobra over four feet long, the snake closing its jaws upon the place. Strong well,
symptoms of uneasiness after 3 minutes, with very hurried and spasmodic breathing ; pupil of eye violently acted on. In about
15 minutes action cf the heart much enfeebled, and very hurried. Pupil of eye still more, evidently under a foreign influence ; very shortly after this the breathing became more hurried, and the animal very restless. Frothy saliva also began to flow freely '?> kelaree asserted the dog would Shortly afterwards, on go mad. putting anything within reach of his mouth, he snapped spasmodically and laid hold of a rope, but more convulsively than with any object. First effects seemed to be excitement and distress, followed by considerable lethargy, after which its muscular efforts appeared to be nervously spasmodic, excited by some foreign influence, and evidently not voluntary. The hinder extremities first appeared to lose power; action of the heart hurried, weak, and intermittent; about this period the pupil of the eye became fixed, lower jaw powerless, tongue lolling out, and of a bluish black color ; and breathing distressed, hurried, and
First day, 26th
Icclarce, * who having been plucked from one thigh and partially off the breast, the bird was freely bitten more than once in our presence by a lively cobra, over four feet long. The cock showed no symptoms of distress of was let loose, and ran about any kind, and, after an hour, Did not at any time subsequently exhibit apparently uninjured. any symptoms of distress. 2. A rabbit would not have the antidote administered by the kelaree, whose hand he bit severely in the attempt to do so. The rabbit was then twice bitten by a cobra over four feet long, It was then let on each occasion giving vent to a painful cry. loose, the poison taking very rapid effect; the animal fell on one 1.
administered his antidote.
side, then sat up for a few seconds, after which it tumbled over; showed great distress,?hurry and irregularity in its efforts to breathe ; heart's action became rapid, feeble, and irregular ; the
of both eyes were
death it showed
dislike to the presence of water.
Second day, 1th
September, 1868. antidote, bitten at 7-39 a.m. Bitten twice on and inner part of left thigh, on both which occasions he gave tongue as if in pain. In about 10 minutes afterwards the same appearance in pupils of eyes a3 in the previous experiments. In about a quarter of an hour strong convulsions, with involuntary evacuations of the bowels, and subsequently, at intervals; made violent attempts to bite everything within reach, including his own legs and tail. This the kelaree described as a symptom of hydrophobia, or his idea of dog-madness; shortly all struggles ceased, the power of motion seeming first to leave the posterior limbs. A good deal of viscid saliva flowed from the mouth, and, as before, the tongue was 1.
dog, right leg
influence; ultimately became quite fixed; and, in 35 minutes from the time of being bitten, the rabbit gave a convulsive shudder and
spasmodic, with only partial expansion of the chest. Died easily, after one or two slight spasmodic gasps, at 9-29?that is, in 40 minutes and 10 seconds after being bitten. Just before
This slut sickened towards evening ; and, being at a distance from the kelaree, and her state being unknown to him, no further antidote was administered. The following morning she was insensible ; spasmodic cramps and convulsions, frequently recurring, supervened ; tongue lolling out, and of a dark color. Pied at 3 p.m. on the 27th, i.e., 30 hours 19 minutea afterbeing bitten.
THE INFLUENCE OF SNAKE-POISON.?BT J. FAYRER.
Jak-uaey 1, 1869.]
circulation in out, livid in appearance. The the pre'sious in tban affected more gradually the heart's action continued for 6 minutes, in the arteries had after all
observed this case
experiments; gradually becoming feeble,
Died at 8-15 a.m. Second dog, without antidote, bitten at 7-54-58 ; died at
in 28 minutes 28
less the symptoms recorded in the foregoing case. 3. ^hird dog, with antidote previously administered, bitten at 8-13 a.m. Remained quite unaffected, and, being kept tied up for three at any time anything wrong. did not exhibit days, 4. Fourth dog, with antidote, bitten at 8-39 a.m. Remained quite unaffected, as in the foregoing case. 5. Previous to this experiment, the kelaree asked whether the
fresh snake should bite a prepared or an unprepared animal. We selected the former in this instance, having already seen two
dogs die, Nos.
1 and 2. A prepared full-grown pariah was then bitten, the first time at 8-57 a.m., and a second time at 8-57-30. lioth times the jaws were
The kelaree says that it was was disengaged from the
third time before the snake
dog, but we saw only the two bites above recorded. The dog remained perfectly unaffected after two hours, when the kelaree ^Vas
told to take all three dogs away to his house, report their state in the evening, and, if alive, to bring them up to the
Residency for inspection the next morning.
The kelaree reported in the evening that the dog last bitten ?twice as we saw, but three times as he affirms?had vomitted at 3 p.m., and exhibited other symptoms of distress; and that he had in consequence administered to this dog more of his
antidote, and that it was doing well. The following morning, that is, in 24
hours after being bitten, exhibited great weakness and distress, and decided symptoms of being under the influence of poison. "We thought it would not recover, but the kelaree appeared confident it would. Antidote was again administered; grew better and stronger
following morning?that is,
hours after being bitten?had quite recovered. It was kept tied up a third day, when all three dogs, in perfect state of health, were let loose. Third day, \1th September, 1S68. Experiment with one and the same cobra biting two fullgrown pariah dogs in succession, at an interval of a quarter of an hour; the first being prepared with the antidote, the second without. This experiment was tried to afford an a fortiori test of the efficacy of the antidote. 1. Prepared dog bitten at 7-42 a.m., the cobra closing his jaws twice upon the part. Remained quite unaffected, apparently* for four hours, after which began to exhibit symptoms of distress, with increasing weakness. The following morning too weak to stand ; tongue beginning to exhibit signs of paralysis, and becoming dark colored. Antidote was again administered; towards evening strength returned; dog eat food. Second Morning?that is, in 48 hours?quite recovered; was kept tied lIp for a week; never at any time exhibited any return of
in natural state, that is
cobra at 7-57 a.ip. in two places,?on the back, and in the line of the spine. At 85?that is, in 33 minutes?it
show symptoms of being under the influence of All the symptoms noted in previous experiments developed themselves, such as affections of the pupils, convulto
twitchings of the jaws and limbs, paralysis of the tongue, gradually increasing swelling and lividity, sluggish circu-
lation, and feeble heart's action. but little the other
In this instance there was violent convulsions in comparison with Died at
9-5; that is,
in 1 hour and
Deposition of havce, Carpenter, residing in Ghaspoora, of Gwalior. Taken 3rd October, 1868. This woman, by name Jusoda, is my wife. Yesterday she was bitten by a snake on the fourth finger of the right hand, about 8 a.m. Blood flowed from two wounds. "We adopted the usual remedy of jharna, or exorcism, and, by making a great noise, tried to prevent her from going to sleep, but without She soon became speechless and insensible. Having success. heard that the Political Agent had a person in his employ who could cure snake-bites, I came to the Residency to seek aid. The Political Agent sent his servant back with me. lie gave my wife some medicine in dhye (curded milk), which revived her, and she recovered, and the anger of the deity was appeased. (True translation.) (Sd.) Pirthee Nath, Pundit, Translator of the Gwalior Agency,