On Injecting Elemental Mercury

Please – Do Not Do This!

By Francisco Gutiérrez, MD., Lucio Leon, M.D. at: nejm.org

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Submitted for your consideration.  Just In case you ever wondered what injecting 10 ml of elemental mercury would do to you?

Case report: A 21 yo woman attempted suicide by injecting 10 ml (135 g) of elemental mercury (quicksilver) intravenously.

Normal AP Chest X-Ray

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Case: She presented to the emergency room with tachypnea, a dry cough, and bloody sputum. While breathing room air, she had a partial pressure of oxygen of 86 mm Hg.

A chest radiograph showed that the mercury was distributed in the lungs in a vascular pattern that was more pronounced at the bases.

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Assessment

The patient was discharged after one week, with improvement in her pulmonary symptoms. Oral chelation therapy with dimercaprol was given for nine months. At follow-up at 10 months she was healthy, with no serious consequences. The abnormalities on the chest radiograph were still apparent.

Your thoughts  are appreciated.

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