6. The Toxic Woman
The Legend

A woman is brought into the emergency room with strange symptoms. When the nurses attempt to take blood samples, a foul odor fills the room and many of the hospital staff are poisoned by the toxic fumes given off by the woman’s blood.

The Truth

On February 19th, 1994, Gloria Ramirez was admitted to hospital with shortness of breath, tachycardia and confusion – she was also suffering late-stage cervical cancer. Nurses noticed that a strange ammonia-like odor coming from the blood samples they had taken, as well as odd yellowish crystals that had formed in the samples and a garlicky odor coming from Ramirez’s mouth.

One by one, the staff began to fall ill as they came into contact with the patient. Many came down with nausea, lightheadedness and fainting fits and eventually staff and patients were evacuated. 23 staff in total came down with one or more symptoms after contact with Ramirez. After 45 minutes, she was pronounced dead due to kidney failure.

Numerous investigations have tried to get to the bottom of the woman with toxic blood. Whilst mass-hysteria was originally thought to be the cause of the mysterious symptoms, another explanation has also been postulated.

Many of the hospital staff report noticing that Ramirez’s skin had an odd, oily sheen to it. It is possible that Ramirez may have been using dimethyl sulfoxide, a powerful degreaser that is sometimes used as a home remedy to treat pain. She could have been using it to treat the pain related to her cancer, which would also explain her greasy appearance. Electrical currents from the defibrillator could have caused the chemical to convert into a noxious gas.
Whether it was this, or simply a mass-placebo effect that caused the wave of sickness, the secret now lies buried with Ramirez, and the urban legend lives on as the woman with toxic blood.

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