Gloria Ramirez (January 11, 1963 – February 19, 1994) was a Riverside, California, woman dubbed "the toxic lady" by the media when several Riverside General Hospital workers became ill after exposure to her body and blood.
Her case was the basis for a scene in one episode of the American TV series The X-Files, an episode of the American TV drama Grey's Anatomy, a segment of a show on Discovery Communications' channel Investigation Discovery called "The New Detectives, a third season episode of Weird or What?, and the "Stink Bomb" segment of the animated film Memories.
About 8:15 in the evening on February 19, 1994, Ramirez was brought into the emergency room of Riverside General Hospital by paramedics, suffering from the effects of advanced cervical cancer. She was extremely confused, and suffering from bradycardia and Cheyne-Stokes respiration.
The medical staff injected her with Valium, Versed, and Ativan to sedate her, and agents such as lidocaine to stimulate her heartbeat. When it became clear that Ramirez was responding poorly to treatment, the staff tried to defibrillate her heart; at that point several people saw an oily sheen covering Ramirez's body, and some noticed a fruity, garlic-like odor that they thought was coming from her mouth. A registered nurse named Susan Kane attempted to draw blood from Ramirez's arm, and noticed an ammonia like smell coming from the tube.
She passed the syringe to Julie Gorchynski, a medical resident who noticed manila-colored (light brown) particles floating in the blood. At this point, Kane fainted and was removed from the room. Shortly thereafter, Dr. Gorchynski began to feel nauseated. Complaining that she was light-headed, she left the trauma room and sat at a nurse's desk. A staff member asked her if she was okay, but before she could respond she also fainted. Maureen Welch, a respiratory therapist who was assisting in the trauma room was the third to pass out. The staff was then ordered to evacuate all emergency room patients to the parking lot outside the hospital. A skeleton crew stayed behind to stabilize Ramirez. At 8:50pm, after 45 minutes of CPR and defibrillation, Ramirez was pronounced dead from kidney failure related to her cancer.