On Injecting Elemental Mercury

Please – Do Not Do This!

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


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



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.



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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