The doctor liked his coffee black.
So when it was sweet, he asked his lady friend, also a cancer physician and researcher, for another cup. She urged him to drink up anyway.
The coffee tasted sweet because it was laced with a sweet-tasting toxic chemical used in antifreeze and medical research, ethylene glycol, according to a criminal complaint filed with the Harris County District Attorney's Office. The complaint referred to the chemical as "a deadly weapon."
According to the charges, when Blumenschein complained his coffee tasted sweet, she told him she'd added Splenda and instructed 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 loss of fine motor skills.
A 24-hour urine test found crystals consistent with ethylene glycol poisoning, according to the complaint. It also said a county toxicologist concurred with the assessment, noting that by the time Blumenschein was assessed any ethylene glycol itself would not be present because it would have been metabolized.
A toxicology report by a third expert indicated that Blumenschein's acute severe metabolic acidosis "more likely than not" was due to ethylene glycol poisoning.
Ana Maria Gonzalez-Angulo, a breast cancer oncologist at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, was charged last week with aggravated assault against Dr. George Blumenschein, a specialist in lung and head and neck cancers at the institution.
The pair were in "a casual sexual relationship," according to the complaint filed May 29, when Gonzalez-Angulo gave Blumenschein not just one cup of poisoned coffee, but two.
Sixteen hours later, he was taken to an emergency center, where he was found to have central nervous system depression, cardiopulmonary complications and renal failure. He subsequently had to undergo dialysis.
Lawyers for Gonzalez-Angulo denied the charge.
"Dr. Gonzalez-Angulo is completely innocent," Derek Hollingsworth, a partner in Rusty Hardin & Associates, said in a statement. "She is a distinguished citizen and scientist, and these allegations are totally inconsistent with her personal and professional life."more