What did Mathieu Orfila do related to forensic toxicology?
● In 1818, he produced another scientific treatise titled Poison Recognition and the Distinction Between Actual Death and Murder.
Orfila, like many other early nineteenth-century European scientists, was a victim of political intrigue. After the Bourbon Restoration and Louis Philippe’s reign, he was praised, but during the 1848 revolutions, he quickly fell out of favor. He was allowed to serve as president of the Académie de Médecine from 1850 to 1852, despite his medical deanship being abruptly ended on February 28, 1848. The stress he experienced during the Second Republic is considered to have hastened his physical decline and ultimately contributed to his death.
Mathieu Orfila was summoned to Paris to investigate the Lafarge murder case. Marie Lafarge, Lafarge’s wife, was accused of attempting to murder her husband with arsenic poison in 1840. Due to the lack of a trustworthy process, no evidence of arsenic in the victim’s body could be found at the time. The court called Orfila to look into the criminal matter.
His fame is based primarily on the first-mentioned work, which he published when he was just twenty-seven years old. It’s a gold mine of experimental data on poisoning symptoms of all types, the appearances poisons leave in the dead body, their physiological function, and the methods for identifying them. Few disciplines of science can be said to have been founded and raised to a state of high advancement by the labors of a single man, notwithstanding their importance in everyday life and difficulty of inquiry.
After further investigation, he discovered that the Marsh Test is unreliable due to its inaccuracy. His meticulous study revealed the presence of arsenic in the corpse of the victim, and the court declared Marie Lafarge guilty of the murder of her husband.
The primary study of toxicology concerns the dosage of poison used in any situation. Almost every substance has the potential to be poisonous given the right circumstances, but whether or not it becomes dangerous depends on the amount of poison involved. One of the first major experts in the field of toxicology, a man known as Paracelsus, devised this concept and created a well known maxim that has been revised to say, “The dose makes the poison.” Simply put, the dosage is the primary determining factor in whether or not any substance is toxic and in how harmful it will be to a living organism.
Modern toxicologists often work with coroners or medical examiners when they perform an autopsy on a suspected poison victim. Toxicologists also provide drug testing services for various purposes, such as determining if a job applicant uses any illegal substances or if an athlete uses steroids to enhance their performance. Their work offers a unique insight into the chemicals found inside a human or any other living creature and into the effects those chemicals have on their host.
One of the first cases to utilize Orfila’s discoveries occurred in 1840, when Marie LaFarge was accused of poisoning her husband. When investigators were unable to find any arsenic traces within the corpse, they called in Orfila to personally run some tests. He found the evidence the prosecution was looking for, and LaFarge was found guilty of murder.
Although poisons have been studied and written about since the ninth century, the true origin of modern toxicology goes back to the early 1800’s when a man named Mathieu Orfila produced a scientific work titled Traité des poisons: tires des règnes mineral, vegetal et animal; ou Toxicologie générale. Orfila analyzed poison’s effects on humans and created a method of detecting the presence of arsenic within murder victims. His book discussed the techniques he devised, and soon became a commonly used guideline for murder cases in which detectives suspected the use of poison.
What did Mathieu Orfila contribute to forensics quizlet?
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