A young married women hurriedly called on Dr. Burnley Lanford, of Norfolk, Va. She was very nervous, crying, and had awful pains in her head. Two hours before she had inserted two bichloride of mercury tablets (gr. 7.3 each) as far into her vagina as possible, because she thought she was becoming pregnant, and another women had told her that the tablets would prevent it. Dr. Lanford did what he could for her immediate relief a copious vaginal douche and the insertion of the white of five eggs into the vagina, etc., and then turned the case over to her family physician, as his was an emergency call. A week later he was called again and gives the effects of the poison in the following words:
“The change in her was pitiful. She had been an unusually pretty woman, but though I had known her for years, I could not have recognized her in the woman before me. The entire face, neck and chest, for several inches below the clavicles, were tremendously swollen, the eyes practically closed, the tongue so swollen and protruding that the lips were a grayish black, and were sloughing; the teeth were loose enough to have been spit out; the breath emitted a most horrible odor. There was not much flow of saliva at this time. The bowels were moving very frequently, small, bloody, mucopurulent stools; for the passage of each, the patient would jump out of bed, and had done so for a week. Her mind was fairly acute, though she could not articulate because of the swelling. She did not complain of pain in her abdomen, nor was she tender or tympanitic at any time while under my observation. Pulse at this time was 130, temperature F.”
Under treatment the patient improved very much and there were hopes of recovery, but on the tenth day there was a change. “The pulse grew quick and soft, the skin would not sweat, the secretion of urine seemed to have stopped, and she no longer at tempted to get up for her bowel movements. Her mind grew cloudy and she began to be drowsy, though she had previously slept very little.” This drowsiness on the eleventh day deepened into sleep from which she did not awake.