MysteriYES

A comedy mystery podcast in which two friends discuss a weekly mystery.

The Toxic Woman of Riverside

  • 8:15 on February 19th 1994

  • A woman named Gloria Ramirez was rushed to the hospital

    • Suffered from cervical cancer

  • Rushed to Riverside General Hospital

    • Just down the street from a Target AND a Walmart

      • Right next to each other

  • When she arrived she was extremely confused

    • Tachycardia (too fast)

    • Cheyne-Stokes respiration

      • Fast burst of breathing with breaks in between

  • Medical staff gave her diazepam, midazolam, and lorazepam to sedate her and calm her down

    • Don’t think this was incorrect

  • Gloria’s conditioned worsened

    • Responding poorly seemed to be losing her

  • Staff tried to defibrillate her heart

    • Several people saw an oily sheen covering her body

    • More noticed a fruity, garlic-y smell that seemed to be coming from her mouth

  • A registered nurse named Susan Kane tried to draw blood from Gloria’s arm and noticed an ammonia like smell

    • Passed the syringe to a resident named Julie Gorchynski

      • Noticed manila-colored particles floating in the blood

  • Kane fainted and was removed from the room

  • Gorchynski began to feel nauseous

    • She said she was lightheaded and left the trauma room to sit at a nurse’s desk

    • Someone came up to her to ask if she was okay

      • Fainted

  • Maureen Welch a respiratory therapist also passed out

  • Staff started to panic a bit

    • Ordered the evacuation of all emergency department patients to the parking lot

  • 23 people became ill and five were hospitalized

  • A few people were left behind to look after Gloria Ramirez

    • After 45 minutes of CPR and defibrillation she was pronounced dead from kidney failure at 8:50

Investigation

  • The county called in the state department of health and human services

    • Put two scientists Drs. Ana Maria Osorio and Kirsten Waller on the case

      • Osorio and The Wall

    • Interviewed 34 hospital staff members who had been working the emergency department that night

    • Used standardized questions

      • Determined that everyone who suffered major symptoms had all worked within 2 feet of Gloria Ramirez

    • Couldn’t find a cause

      • Mostly women had been affected

      • All had normal blood tests after the exposure

    • Conclusion was Mass Hysteria

  • Dimethyl Sulfoxide

    • Gorchynski denied that it had been mass hysteria

      • Spent two weeks in the ICU with breathing problems

      • Developed hepatitis and avascular necrosis in her knees

    • The Riverside coroner’s office asked the Lawrence Livermore National Labratory to investigate

    • The Livermore lab suggested that it could have been caused by dimethyl sulfoxide

      • Degreaser that is often used as a home remedy for pain

        • Reportedly has a garlic like taste

      • Sold in gels form at hardware stores

        • Could also explain skin

    • Not dangerous on its own, but could have turned into something dangerous

      • Dimethyl Sulfoxide could have built up in her body over time

        • Urinary blockage

      • Paramedics then gave her oxygen

        • Could have combined to make dimethyl sulfone

      • Dimethyl sulfone crystallizes at room temperature

        • Could explain stuff in Gloria’s blood

      • The electricity from the defibrillator could have then converted the dimethyl sulfone into dimethyl sulfate

        • Dimethyl sulfate is a highly toxic ester of sulfuric acid that could have caused some of the reported symptoms of the staff

    • This theory was published in an accredited, refereed journal and passed peer review

    • Nothing showed up on blood tests

    • Has not been proven to be possible

      • Only theorized

  • Poor hospital conditions

  • Aliens