Monday, July 17, 2023

C&EN: UK chemist, survivor of thallium poisoning tells story

In this week's Chemical and Engineering News, this remarkable story of a UK chemist (article by Andy Extance):
The first sign that something was wrong was numbness in his feet. Then things got rapidly and severely worse. It was August 2012, and soon, a chemistry PhD student in the UK would be fighting for his life. The cause eventually became clear: thallium.

On Friday, Aug. 17, that PhD student was a tall, muscular man in his 20s working in the chemistry laboratories at the University of Southampton. He was unaware that his life would soon change catastrophically. This article will refer to him by the pseudonym BM to protect his privacy.

After a full day at the lab, BM headed home. It was there he first noticed something amiss. The bottoms of his feet had started to go numb. Yet, as an outgoing man with many friends, including those he’d gained as a university-level athlete, he was in demand on a Friday night. So BM went out to a local pub. He mentioned the numbness to friends but thought little of it.

That night, BM slept badly. He woke on Saturday to numbness rising above his ankles. In the shower, he was disturbed to feel the numbness rising up his legs.

This is just the beginning of the story. Read the whole thing. Best wishes to BM and well done to Andy Extance for getting this story on the record. 

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looks like Blogger doesn't work with anonymous comments from Chrome browsers at the moment - works in Microsoft Edge, or from Chrome with a Blogger account - sorry! CJ 3/21/20