ECLAMPSIA PARTURIENTIUM, med. jur. The name of a disease accompanied by
apoplectic convulsions, and which produces aberration of mind at childbirth.
The word Eclampsia is of Greek origin - Significat splenaorem fulgorem
effulgentiam, et emicationem quales ex oculis aliquando prodeunt.
Metaphorice sumitur de emicatione flammae vitalis in pubertate et aetaeis
vigore. Castelli, Lex. Medic.
2. An ordinary person, it is said, would scarcely observe it, and it requires the practised and skilled eye of a physician to discover that the patient is acting in total unconsciousness of the nature and effect of her acts. There can be but little doubt that many of the tragical cases of infanticide proceed from this cause. The criminal judge and lawyer cannot inquire with too much care into the symptoms of this disease, in order to discover the guilt of the mother, where it exists, and to ascertain her innocence, where it does not. See two well reported cases of this kind in the Boston Medical Journal, vol. 27, No. 10, p. 161.