=Hydrochloric Acid=, muriatic acid, or spirit of salt, is not uncommonly
used for suicidal purposes, being fifth in the list.
Method of Extraction from the Stomach.--The same as for sulphuric
acid. As hydrochloric acid is a constituent of the gastric juice, the
signs of the acid must be looked for.
Post-Mortem Appearances.--The mucous membranes are dry, white, and
shrivelled, and often erode
Tests.--The concentrated acid yields dense white fumes with ammonia.
When warmed with black oxide of manganese and strong sulphuric acid it
gives off chlorine, recognized by its smell and bleaching properties.
Diluted it gives with nitrate of silver, a white precipitate, which is
insoluble in nitric acid and in caustic potash, but is soluble in
ammonia, and when dried and heated melts, and forms a horny mass. Stains
on clothing are reddish-brown in colour.
Fatal Dose.--Half an ounce.
Fatal Period.--Shortest, two hours; average, twenty-four hours. Death
may occur after an interval of some weeks from destruction of the
gastric glands and inability to digest food.