He injected by the arteries, selecting generally the large artery in the thigh, called the femoral, for the vessel into which to insert the nozzle of the syringe. His preservation of the body of the wife of the eccentric Martin Van But-chell was one of the curious events of the latter part of last century. The embalmed remains of the lady are still retained in the museum of the Royal College of Surgeons, and prove that the embalmment, which was rather a prolonged and complicated affair, was successful in preventing putrefactive decomposition. The formula for Hun-ter's embalming solution is - 1 pint Venice turpentine, 2 fl. oz. lavender oil, 2 fl. oz. rosemary oil, 5 pints turpentine oil.
When Dr. Richardson was making a visit to Paris in 1867, he was shown portions of a lady which had been preserved by some process which had never been revealed. From the general appearances he came to the conclusion that the secret preservative used in this case was nothing more than sulphuric acid, and he afterwards made some experiments of injecting the vessels of a dead animal with sulphuric acid slightly diluted, which showed him that the supposition was perfectly correct. The muscular structure in these instances seems as if it were partly charred, but it remains quite flexible, owing, probably, to an after absorption of water by the acid from the atmosphere. For the purpose of embalming, this process, as it now stands, is inapplicable; but if by any means the muscles preserved by it could have a fleshy colour communicated to them, it would he an invaluable method to the demonstrator of anatomy, since by its means he could preserve careful dissections of the natural parts for many years, ready at any moment for demonstration.
In 1854, Dr. Richardson made the observation that if liquid ammonia were brought into contact with dead animal structures, it would hold them for a long time in a state of perfect preservation. In this way, in a closed box, he preserved for a great many months numerous finely dissected specimens, and used them from session to session for purposes of demonstration. He also injected ammonia into the vessels of dead parts, in order to make it applicable as a preservative; but he does not think it would answer as a fluid for embalming so well as some other fluids, although for temporary preservation it leaves little to be desired.
Simple wood vinegar has been used by some embalmers for injection of the vessels. This application came from an observation made in 1833 by the distinguished chemist Berzelius, who examined a body that had been kept by this means in perfect preservation for 20 years.
At the time when Gannal's process was before the Academy of Medicine, Sucquet presented a preservative solution for embalming that was free of arsenic. It was a solution of zinc chloride. Experiments were made by the Academy with this solution, and with Gannal's aluminium sulphide and chloride solutions. Two bodies were embalmed, one by Sucquet's, the other by Gannal's process. The bodies were buried for 14 months, with favourable results.
The Brunetti method for the preservation of the dead consists of several processes: - (1) The circulatory system is cleared thoroughly out by washing with cold water till it issues quite clear from the body, occupying 2 to 5 hours. (2) Alcohol is injected so as to abstract as much water as possible; occupies about J hour. (3) Ether is injected to abstract the fatty matters; occupies 2 to 10 hours. (4) A strong solution of tannin is injected; occupies for imbibition 2 to 10 hours. (5) The body is dried in a current of warm air passed over heated calcium chloride; may occupy 2 to 5 hours. The body is then perfectly preserved, and resists decay. The Italians are said to exhibit specimens which are as hard as stone, and retain the shape perfectly, and are equal to the best wax models.
A fluid for the preparation of animal and vegetable tissues, which surpasses anything before known in its power of preserving the colour, form, and elasticity of specimens treated with it, has been invented by Wickersheimer, of the University of Berlin. The fluid may be injected into the veins of the body to be preserved by it, or the entire object may be immersed in it. In either case the elasticity of the tissues and the flexibility of the joints are preserved. At a recent meeting of the Philadelphia Academy of Natural Sciences, Prof. Barbeck described a number of preparations which showed beautifully the combined movements of the chest, larynx, and other parts engaged in the mechanism of breathing. Several snakes which had been treated with the fluid more than a year previously permitted of uudulatory and spiral movements. Lungs thus prepared may, even after years, be inflated by means of bellows. Such old lungs were seen to swell to 10 times their size in the collapsed state, the lobes became distinct, the brown colour gradually changed into red, and the whole organ appeared as if taken from a fresh body.
Sections of delicate tissues, morbid formations which have been removed by an operation, will appear after months as if in a fresh state, and may thus be preserved for future study. All sorts of vegetable organisms may also be preserved in this fluid. A colony of exquisite fresh-water algae, which had been in the fluid for a year, appeared to be growing in the water. The Prussian Government has purchased this valuable discovery, and the Minister of Instruction has published it in his official organ for the benefit of the scientific world. The formula for the preparation of the fluid is as follows : In 6 1/2 pints boiling water, dissolve 3 1/2 oz. alum, 6 dr. common salt, 3 dr. saltpetre, 1 3/4 oz. potash carbonate, 2 1/2 dr. arsenious acid. After cooling and filtering, add to every 10 pints of the solution, 4 pints glycerine, and 1 pint methylic alcohol. The method of application differs according to the nature of the objects to be preserved. Anatomical preparations that are to be preserved dry are immersed in the fluid for 6 to 12 days, according to their size, then taken out and dried in the open air. Hollow organs, such as lungs, etc, must be filled with the preserving fluid, then laid in a vessel containing the same liquid, and afterwards distended with air, and dried.
Small animals, such as crabs, beetles, lizards, frogs, etc, if the natural colours are to be preserved unchanged, are not dried, but put immediately into the preparation The same fluid may be used for the purpose of preserving human bodies during transportation, or even for more permanent embalming.
Deprais has proposed a process for disposing of dead bodies so as to guarantee the destruction of causes of infection without resorting to cremation. His process is based on the statement that at 223° F. (106° C.) all pernicious germs are destroyed. He utilises the well-known fact that saline solutions do not boil until after the boiling-point of water has been passed. The salt he employs is calcium chloride, on account of its cheapness, the ease of its management, and because it is antiseptic and tanning in its effects. On plunging a corpse into such a solution at 96$° Tw. (47° B.) and slowly raising the temperature of the bath, it is evident that when the temperature passes 212° F. (100° C.) the water of the flesh and tissues will evaporate. Continuing the heat, the body contracts and the calcium chloride impregnates it. The prolonged bath kills the disease spores, and the hardening and antiseptic properties of the salt partially embalm the body; as, however, calcium chloride is deliquescent, the body would not dry on removal from the bath. It is removed by immersion in a bath of soda sulphate, by which the lime salt remaining in the body and incrusting all its fibres becomes lime sulphate, and sodium chloride is free in the bath.
Then the body is dried either in the open air or in an oven.
If the object be not so much to embalm or preserve a whole body, as to preserve animal tissues or anatomical or histological specimens, so that they may be transported or shipped in any climate, and be in good condition for subsequent microscopic examination, the following method, communicated by Professor Welch, of Bellevue Hospital Medical College, will answer: - Portions of the organs should be cut into small pieces (on the average, cubes about 1 in. in diameter), and placed for 4 to 8 weeks in Muiller's fluid. A large quantity of the fluid should be used, and it should be frequently changed for the first week, until it remains clear. After about 6 weeks the specimens are removed from the Mailer's fluid, and for 3 or 4 days are thoroughly washed in frequently - changed water, until the water ceases to become yellow after standing some hours over the specimens. The specimens are then placed either in alcohol, or in a mixture of 2 parts alcohol and 1 water, and after a few days are ready for cutting for the microscope. The spinal cord is cut into pieces about 3/4 in. long, which remain connected by the membranes, and can be hardened in the above manner, but should not, as a rule, remain longer than a month in the fluid. Small pieces can be hardened rapidly in strong alcohol.
Here it is necessary to take pieces about 1/2-3/4 in. in diameter, and to use a large quantity of strong alcohol. The chief errors are, not using a sufficiently large quantity of the hardening fluid, or in attempting to harden too large pieces. It is best to use at least 1 pint (and preferably more) of the Muller's fluid for 6 or 8 of the cubes 1 in. in diameter, and to change this fluid several times. The specimens should be obtained as freshly as possible from the autopsy. Well - stoppered glass vessels should be used for the hardening. After the specimens are once hardened by the process described, they can be preserved in a small quantity of alcohol, and can be sent packed in cotton-wool soaked in alcohol. The Muller's fluid alluded to is described below. Of the solutions employed for preserving anatomical specimens, the best known are as follows: -
1 pint wood naphtha, 7 pints water.
1 lb. zinc chloride, 1 gal. water; immerse for 2-4 days, and then dry in the air.
14 oz. arsenious acid, 7 oz. caustic soda, 20 fl. oz. water, and sufficient carbolic acid to produce opalescence when the mixture is stirred; add water to make up to 100 fl. oz. Used for general disinfecting and embalming purposes.
2-2 1/2 oz. potash bichromate, 1 oz. soda sulphate; add water to make up to 100 fl. oz.
1 oz. saltpetre, 2 oz. alum, 4 oz. calcium chloride, in 16-20 fl. oz. water; dilute according to need.
Dr. Seseman states that a corpse may be made to retain the natural form of expression for months by (a) injecting into it a solution consisting of 4-5 per cent. of aluminium chloride dissolved in a mixture of 2 parts alcohol of 90 per cent. and 1 part glycerine; (6) painting the entire epidermis with vaseline. The quantity of liquid required for injection is in the proportion of 1/10 to 1/7 of the weight of the corpse.
7 oz. glycerine at 36° Tw. (22° B.), 1 oz. raw brown sugar, and 1/2 oz. nitre; immerse for some days.