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The Bizarre Story Of The Woman Whose Blood Was So Toxic It Shut Down A Whole Hospital

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Every day, emergency room doctors are confronted with any number of stressful and life threatening scenarios. Saving the lives of every single person who walks through those ER doors is all in a day’s work.

However, not every medical mystery is so easily solved. Emergency room doctors can run test after test, they can theorize and medicate patients all day long, but there are some cases that never get cracked.

The case of Gloria Ramirez, a young woman rushed to the hospital in the final stages of cervical cancer, is one of those impossible cases. What happened to her sounds like science fiction, and it left even seasoned emergency room doctors scratching their heads.

Gloria Ramirez was just 31 when she was admitted to the emergency room during the final stages of cervical cancer. When nurses rushed to her side they found that Gloria was incoherent, with an elevated heart rate that was preventing the chambers of her heart from filling with the blood. These were common symptoms in the elderly, but not in a woman so young, regardless of her diagnosis. 

Gloria_1The Line Up

Susan Kane was one of the nurses who tried to save Gloria that fateful night. It was Susan who noticed an oily sheen covering Gloria’s body and a strange ammonia-like smell coming from Gloria’s blood. When she drew a sample she noticed strange particles floating inside the blood. Susan began to feel lightheaded and suddenly fainted! Then, another nurse also passed out. Finally, the remaining nurse began to lose control of her limbs. She says the last thing she remembers before passing out was the sound of screaming.

Gloria_2Find A Grave


The reactions began to spread throughout the hospital, where 23 of the 37 emergency room staffers on duty that night began to develop strange symptoms. Staff and patients were evacuated to the parking lot while a small team of doctors toughed it out to try and save Gloria. Unfortunately, she died not long thereafter of kidney failure. 

Gloria_3-1024x768Wikimedia

The hospital requested that hazmat team examine the air for any dangerous substances. They discovered that Gloria was taking dimethyl sulfoxide as a substitute for painkillers. That explained the oil covering her body and the floating objects in her blood (a crystalized form of the drug), but to this day no one knows how the dimethyl sulfoxide was able to affect so many other people. 

Gloria_4-1024x682Wikimedia

Scientists believe that the crazy events in the hospital were actually caused by mass hysteria, but nurse Susan Kane believes that the dimethyl sulfoxide turned into dimethyl sulfate, a poisonous gas. The real reason for these strange occurrences may never be known.

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