Been half listening to the Discovery Channel's series The New Detectives. They just covered the myserious incident in Riverside CA in which Gloria Ramirez was admitted to the ER in 1994. The staff was told she was suffering cervical cancer but had not yet taken chemotherapy for it. As they struggled to stabilise her things began to happen. Their efforts seemed to be not working. When a blood sample was drawn the nurse fainted and crystals were seen in the sample. Then people started to pass out in the ER, nurses and doctors. In a true example of dedication to one's profession, as people passed out others took their place in an attempt to save Gloria Ramirez. Unfortunately their efforts were in vain as Gloria Ramirez died thirty-five minutes after being admitted to the hospital ER.
A thorough examination of the ER, hospital, and autopsy; all carried out in decontamination suits, failed to uncover any possible causes. Gloria Ramirez's blood samples were sent to Lawrence Livermoore Labs for examination. What they found was her blood had large amounts of DMSO2 in it. DMSO2 is the waste product when DMSO breaks down and DMSO is used a folk remedy for such things as cancer pain. But the mystery still remained, what caused all the illness since DMSO2 or DMSO is not lethal.
So it looked like the whole incident of fainting staff would be written off as mass hysteria except one of the doctors that was struck that night refused to take that as an answer. Some of the staff a year later were still suffering lingering effects. She gathered up all the medical records and brought them to the scientists who found the DMSO2 in Gloria Ramirez's blood. To the scientists credit, they decided to take another look.
They found in their chemical textbook bible on the same page as DMSO and DMSO2 another related compound, DMSO4. DMSO4 it turns out is a nerve agent of such potency that 1/10th of a gram is lethal. But how could they reconcile what was reported that night? They conducted some more tests and found an interesting effect. When the waste product DMSO2 is withdrawn from a body as in a blood sample and is exposed to cooler room temperature, it crystalizes. As to where the DMSO2 came from, once again DMSO is used as a fok remedy for pain. So where did all that DMSO2 come from? Well Gloria Ramirez was put on oxygen from the moment she was put in the ambulance and taken to the hospital so they theorized that is where the extra oxygen needed to break DMSO down to its waste product came from. But the scientists still could not show any leap to the creation of DMSO4 so this incident still remains a mystery.
So let me offer a possible hypothesis on DMSO4 and Gloria Ramirez. In the re-enactment they mention defibrillator paddles were used to restart Gloria's heart. Lets suppose rushing through Gloria's lungs and heart is blood saturated with DMSO2 and now we have this electrical charge passing through the heart in an attempt to restart it. It is a fact that when a large enough charge of electricty is passed through a gas like sulphurhexaflouride [SF6], some of the gas can break down into its components sulphur and flourine. This electrical discharge could break down the DMSO2 and as the molecules seek to become stable again they pick up two extra oxygens, so DMSO4 is formed.
It is a pretty thin theory I admit, but if DMSO4 is so lethal that 1/10th of a gram is fatal then how much DMSO4 is needed to affect all those staff? Not much probably and it seems the fainting started after the blood sample was drawn. I just ran across on the Internet someone elses theory of what happened and suddenly mine is the ivory tower of theories[ and alas am not the first to look at the defibrillation paddles as culprit in the creation of DMSO4, oh well perhaps am on the right track anyway], someone was running a meth lab in the hospital and an IV bag full of meth was given to Gloria. Right....
As for Gloria herself, she died of urinary blockage as a result of her cervical cancer.