A Houston oncologist has been charged with poisoning her lover’s coffee by using a sweet-tasting chemical used in antifreeze and medical research, causing serious health problems including renal failure.
Dr. Ana Maria Gonzalez-Angulo, a breast cancer oncologist at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, was charged with aggravated assault against Dr. George Blumenschein, a specialist in lung and head and neck cancers at the institution. The criminal complaint said the two were in “a casual sexual relationship.”
Blumenschein suffered a protracted loss of the use of his kidneys, according to several reports, and is still being treated for the condition after he was allegedly poisoned at Gonzalez-Angulo's home on Jan. 27.
According to the charges, when Blumenschein complained that his coffee tasted sweet, she told him she'd added Splenda and told him to finish it, after which she made him another cup. Blumenschein said both tasted sweet.
Within four hours, he began experiencing slurred speech, poor balance and a loss of fine motor skills. He was taken to an emergency center, where he was found to have central nervous system depression, cardiopulmonary complications and renal failure. He later had to undergo dialysis.
A 24-hour urine test found crystals consistent with ethylene glycol poisoning, the complaint states. It also said a county toxicologist concurred with the assessment.
A toxicology report by a third expert indicated Blumenschein's acute severe metabolic acidosis "more likely than not" was due to ethylene glycol poisoning.
Gonzalez-Angulo's lawyer, Derek Hollingsworth, told the Houston Chronicle that she's "completely innocent."
"She is a distinguished citizen and scientist, and these allegations are totally inconsistent with her personal and professional life," Hollingsworth said in a statement.
Gonzalez-Angulo is free on $50,000 bail and was put on paid administrative leave, M.D. Anderson officials told the Associated Press.