The Death of Gloria Ramirez
On February 19, 1994, 31 year old Gloria Ramirez was brought to the Riverside General Hospital suffering from the effects of advanced cervical cancer. Her heart rate was unusually high and her breathing abnormal. Medical staff tried to sedate her, but she was not responding to treatment. That’s when Ramirez’s body began to display new and eerie symptoms. Hospital staff noticed an oily sheen begin to form on Ramirez’s skin. This was followed by a fruity-garlic smell coming from her mouth and the smell of ammonia coming from what a nurse believed was Ramirez’s blood.
Medical resident Julie Gorchynski drew blood from Ramirez and noticed particles floating in the blood. One of the nurses complained of the smell and soon fainted. Gorchynski also began to feel ill and eventually fainted as well. Overall, 23 people who were exposed to Ramirez became ill and five were hospitalized. Gloria Ramirez eventually passed away that night due to kidney failure.
No one knows for sure what caused so many to become sick after exposure to Gloria Ramirez. Nor is there any explanation for the oily sheen on Ramirez’s skin, the unusual smells and particles in her blood. The Department of Health and Human Services believed that mass hysteria was the cause for so many illnesses. However, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory believes that Ramirez was using a degreasing solvent called DMSO as a home remedy for pain. The DMSO combined with Ramirez’s urinary blockage and the use of a defibrillator caused the DMSO to convert to a poisonous gas. Still, no one can seem to agree on an answer, not even in the science community.