We may take this opportunity of referring to the results of some enquiries by Dr. Richardson into the medical properties of chloral hydrate. He finds that the maximum quantity of the hydrate that can be borne at one dose bears some proportion to the weight of the animal, and that the human subject, weighing from 120 to 140 pounds, will be made by ninety grains to pass into deep sleep, and by one hundred and forty grains into a sleep that will be dangerous. Again, he finds that an adult person who has taken chloral hydrate in sufficient quantity to be influenced by it, gets rid of it at the rate of about seven grains per hour. In repeated doses, therefore, the hydrate might be given at the rate of twelve grains every two hours for twenty-four hours, with less danger than would occur from giving twelve times twelve (144) grains at once. Another important observation which has been made is that a reduction of the animal temperature is an early and marked effect of the chloral; and when an animal is deeply under the influence of the agent, the temperature of the body, unless the external warmth be carefully sustained, will quickly descend seven or eight degrees below the natural standard. Such reduction of temperature, he rightly observes, is itself a source of danger; it allows condensation of fluid on the bronchial pulmonary surface, and so induces apnæa, and it indicates a period when the convulsion of cold (a convulsion which sharply precedes death) is at hand.
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