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Medical Mysteries, Bizarre Cases

23 medics left convulsing & struggling to breathe after treating ‘Toxic Lady’

TWENTY three medics were left convulsing and struggling to breathe after treating a patient later dubbed "the Toxic Lady".

She died within a matter of hours, and what happened remains one of the biggest medical mysteries in history.


Gloria Ramirez was admitted to Riverside General Hospital in southern California, US, in February 1994.

She had terminal cervical cancer and she was having heart palpitations and difficulty breathing.

Nurses took a blood sample and immediately grew concerned when they spotted it had a strange chemical smell and contained crystal-like particles.

They also noticed there was an oily sheen all over Gloria's body and a strange "fruity garlic" odour coming from her mouth.

But it wasn't until one of the nurses fainted, shortly after saying that her face felt like it was burning, that panic really set in.

Several other staff then began to feel sick and lightheaded, and others reported shaking, convulsions, breathlessness and short periods when they stopped breathing altogether.

The hospital quickly declared an internal emergency and evacuated all other patients into the car park, but Gloria, 31, died a short time later.

[One nurse] ended up in intensive care with bone tissue problems and then had to use crutches for months.

In total, 23 of the 37 medics who came into contact with Gloria fell ill. Five required hospitalisation.

Several theories have been put forward about what happened, including mass hysteria (a psychological condition that affects groups of people with a shared environment) and even alien abduction.

But generally, the two considered most plausible are that the conditions in the hospital were hazardous, or that it had something to do with the apparently "abnormal" amounts of dimethyl sulfoxide in Gloria's body.


Wikipedia article.

maximus otter
“I just said these are the cards I’ve been dealt and these are the hands I’m going to play . . . "

The lady said, when she had gone in for kidney stones and found they had amputated her legs.

The bad news is that your arms are going to be amputated tomorrow! :doh:

Edit 12.25 am: I see escargot got this story earlier, on the dedicated Kidney Stones thread! But I should get the bad taste prize!
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Yes, trepanning does have the real potential to kill if not done properly.
It was really the only way to alleviate swelling of the brain in a time when no proper medical technology was available.
There is evidence of trepanning being done in Mesolithic times...with indicators that they lived afterwards.
Yes, trepanning does have the real potential to kill if not done properly.
It was really the only way to alleviate swelling of the brain in a time when no proper medical technology was available.
I have a couple of pics from old "holed" skulls, the little plaques beside them tell as there's no sign of healing the assumption is the patient died of the treatment.
We've got a saying here...Life is a shit sandwich - some get more shit than bread.
A version I read in Easyriders (US motorcycle magazine) back in the '70s was 'Life is a shit sandwich. The less bread you have, the more shit you have to eat.'
There exists a lady who may be the result of two fertilised eggs combining to give a double genetic profile in a single individual, with alternate gene sets in different cells.

Miss Lydia Fairchild.
Interesting. Wonder how this would affect DNA samples when trying to identify suspects of crimes, as in possibly missing the person because the wrong set of DNA were collected. Here's one article that suggests that chimerism might occur in 10% of the population:

https://www.thetech.org/ask-a-genet...ext=A human chimera is made,be as high as 10%.