GREEN-BLOODED MAN DISCOVERED
In the middle of night a 42 year old man was rushed into Vancouver’s St. Paul’s Hospital for an emergency operation.
The hospital staff ran to prepare him for the operation. As a routine the anaesthetist, Dr Alana Flexman inserted a line into a wrist artery of the patient and nonchalantly watched the process. When the blood oozed out she was shocked and horrified. It was dark green in color and it kept on coming out dark green instead of bright red.
She was reminded of green blood of the Vulcan, Mr Spock of Star Trek, a popular TV serial. She looked at the patient; though he appeared to be weird and mysterious, she was sure he was very much an earthling.
He was brought in because he had fallen asleep while kneeling. He had developed ‘compartment syndrome’ in both legs. ‘Compartment syndrome’ is an ailment caused by development of high pressure in deeper regions of the body compressing blood vessels and other organs leading to blockage of blood supply and eventual damage to the tissue. The situation is dangerous and calls for an immediate medical intervention.
Dr Flexman immediately sent the green blood to the laboratory . The color of blood in animals differs according to the presence or absence of respiratory pigment in it. Hemoglobin transports oxygen using iron, thus the color of blood in many animals is red. Insects have no metallic pigment at all hence their blood is transparent and shows the color of the food they eat.
Mostly it is colorless, or if feeding on green plants it is yellow or green. These animals have a system of trachea (pipes) that take air directly to the tissues. Some molluscs, lobsters and other marine animals have copper pigments instead of iron in their blood. Copper binds with oxygen just as iron does in humans and imparts light blue color to the blood.
Dark green color of blood in humans is associted with a dangerous condition called ‘Methemoglobin’ that renders blood incapable of carrying oxygen. This was immediately ruled out by the laboratory.
The man went through a successful operation while the lab carried out unconvetional tests on the sample of his blood. They detected the presence of a substance called ‘sulfhemoglobin’.Dr Flexman says this a very rare condition when a sulphur group gets attached to the hemoglobin and imparts a green color to the blood. Dr Flexan suspects the source of the sulphur group might be in the medicine that the patient had been taking, most probably the migraine medicine ‘sumatriptan’ which he had been taking in higher doses than recommended, though it is not yet proved.