By Charlene Lowe Kemp
I’m sure worldwide hospital accident and emergency workers have their fair share of weird experiences to tell, but the story of Gloria Ramirez is undoubtedly one of the most famous.
In 1994, the young woman was wheeled into the Emergency department at Riverside General Hospital, California, by paramedics. Although awake, she sometimes seemed confused. Her blood pressure was extremely low, her heart rate incredibly fast, and a look at her medical history showed that she had advanced cervical cancer.
The strange thing was that doctors noticed an oily sheen to her skin, and her mouth had an odd, garlicky smell. When a nurse went to draw blood, she found that the sample smelled like ammonia. Meanwhile, others noticed that Ramirez’s blood contained whitish particles. Not long afterward, medical staff began to feel nauseous and faint. By the end of the night, 23 workers were affected, and five were hospitalized. After 45 minutes of treatment, Ramirez passed away from kidney failure.
Forensic teams have looked into Ramirez’s death, but explanation after explanation has been ruled out. To this day, nobody has found out for certain what caused Ramirez to become literally toxic.