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Woman’s blood was so toxic it cleared out entire emergency room

Woman’s blood was so toxic it cleared out entire emergency room

The unusual case from 1994 still leaves doctors perplexed to this day

Almost three decades ago, a woman was rushed to hospital following cardiac arrest. And when a nurse proceeded to take a blood sample on arrival, what followed is still considered to be a medical mystery to this very day.

31-year-old Gloria Ramirez, known as 'The Toxic Lady' by media, was battling late-stage ovarian cancer when she was brought into Riverside General Hospital in southern California with heart complications in February 1994, the New York Times reported.

But shortly after, a number of hospital workers became severely ill after coming into contact with her 'crystal' blood.

Nurses began to fall ill after being exposed to the 'toxic' blood.

Nurses noticed a 'weird oily sheen' on her body when they removed her shirt to attach the defibrillator in order to shock her heart back into rhythm.

A fruity, garlicky fragrance was also noticed by medical staff, and as nurses injected a syringe into Ramirez's arm to draw blood, floating particles that were the color of manila and had an ammonia-like odour were discovered.

Suddenly, one of the nurses passed out and another began struggling to breathe, resulting in the hospital's emergency room being evacuated as a precaution.

In total, 23 medical staff fell ill and five had to be admitted to hospital, leaving just a small crew left to treat Ramirez.

45 minutes of CPR and defibrillation later, Ramirez was sadly declared dead, with county officials announcing that she died of heart failure due to the kidney failure brought on by late-stage cervical cancer.

However, some members of staff were in hospital for as long as 10 days, with one person even spending two weeks in intensive care.

Several hospital workers became ill after they were exposed to Gloria Ramirez's 'crystal' blood.

A hazmat crew had to transport Ramirez's body for an autopsy and, after studying it further, there was one possible explanation for her mysterious 'crystal' blood.

The research team speculated that Ramirez could have been using dimethyl sulfoxide to treat the pain that her cancer was causing.

The theory suggests that electric shocks from the defibrillator could have converted it into dimethyl sulfate - a highly poisonous and corrosive gas that can kill cells in the mouth, lungs and eyes. Once the vapor enters the body it can cause paralysis, delirium, and convulsions.

The treatment could have created dimethyl sulfone which crystalizes at room temperature in some cases.

Although the theory is quite likely and has been endorsed by the Riverside Coroner's Office, Tom DeSantis, the county's coroner spokesperson said: "There is a chance that the mystery may remain a mystery."

It's believed by theorists that the shocks from the defibrillator could have caused the chemical reaction.
Mikhail Nilov/Pexels

The case has sparked a debate online, with other users commenting on how unusual the story was.

One wrote: "I think an interesting aspect of the story was that it took a long time to prove this. Initially they claimed all the doctors and nurses were suffering from mass hysteria."

While another added: "I don't know how it would go from the syringe to the air, and in huge quantities to cause everyone to pass out."

I suppose we have to accept that Ramirez' case could forever be unclear.

Featured Image Credit: TikTok/@rae_spirits / Wikimedia Commons

Topics: Science, Health, US News