j. Poison Removal by Dialysis. An extreme measure used to remove poisons
from the body is peritoneal dialysis performed by a physician. Sterile dialyzing fluid is
introduced into the abdominal cavity and used to wash poison out of that cavity.
Hemodialysis, the process of passing blood through a semipermeable membrane which
is in a bathing solution (artificial kidney) and then returning the blood to the body, is
performed in a hospital and is also a method of removing poison from the body.
A variety of chemical agents can poison humans. Corrosives rapidly destroy or
decompose body tissues wherever the chemical touches the body. Some metals irritate
and poison the body. Salicylates, ethyl alcohol, methyl alcohol, and petroleum products
also do chemical damage to the human body.
a. Corrosives. Corrosives are chemical substances which destroy or
decompose body tissues at the point where the chemical touches the body.
Hydrochloric acid, phenol, nitric acid, and sodium hydroxide (lye) are corrosive poisons.
If an individual swallows this type of poison, he may destroy the lining of his mouth and
throat. Damage to internal organs, especially organs of excretion such as the kidneys,
is also possible.
Signs/symptoms of corrosive poisoning. Included are the following:
(a) An immediate burning pain in the throat, mouth, and stomach
followed by retching and vomiting.
(b) Stomach contents mixed with shreds of mucous membrane from
the stomach, esophagus, and mouth.
A characteristic stain inside the mouth and lips if an acid has been
(d) Difficulty swallowing (dysphagia).
(e) Difficult or labored breathing (dyspnea).
Tenderness and gas distention of the abdomen.
Treatment for corrosive poisoning. Treat as follows:
DO NOT try to make the victim vomit.