Post-Mortem Findings in Acute Jelly-Fish Poisoning with Sudden Death in Status Lymphaticus

H. W. Wade Culion Leper Colony, Philippine Health Service

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A well developed, very healthy young man, with only slight remaining evidences of leprosy, was working waist deep in the water of a mangrove swamp when he called out in distress to fellow workmen nearby that something had bitten him. He quickly collapsed, breathing with difficulty, and died within a very few minutes.

No mark suggestive of a snake bite could be found, nor any other abnormality except purplish (livid) markings ascribable only to contact with a large, long-tentacled jelly-fish. The head was livid. The lungs were distended, did not collapse, and contained much frothy serous material that had escaped from the alveolar capillaries. The right heart was full, the blood fluid and dark. The viscera were congested, especially the kidneys which showed parenchymatous injury and albuminous material in the glomerular capsules.

The fatal outcome was too sudden to be ascribed to the poisoning alone. Definite evidence of status lymphaticus was found, and it is probably because of the peculiar unstability known to exist in this condition that the unquestionably severe shock of the jelly-fish sting induced sudden death.

This case is of interest not so much because death occurred as because an opportunity was had to observe the anatomical changes in acute severe jelly-fish poisoning.

Author Notes