MD Anderson doctor accused of poisoning co-worker's coffee

June 7, 2013 8:39:30 PM PDT
A well-respected oncologist at MD Anderson is facing a felony after she allegedly poisoned the coffee of a co-worker she was dating.

Dr. Ana Maria Gonzalez-Angulo is charged with aggravated assault of a family member in connection to the January 27 incident. According to court documents, Gonzalez-Angulo and Dr. George Blumenschein, the colleague she was dating, were together at a home in the 3800 block of Gramercy Street when she handed him a cup of coffee laced with ethylene glycol, a substance often used in antifreeze.

Documents say Blumenschein, who preferred his coffee black, asked Gonzalez-Angulo why the coffee was sweet and she told him she had put Splenda in it. When he asked for a new cup, she insisted he finish that cup before she poured him another. However, that second cup tasted just as sweet.

About four hours later, Blumenschein began experiencing slurred speech, poor balance and loss of fine motor skills. Then 16 hours into the ordeal, he was hospitalized.

Doctors determined Blumenschein was experiencing central nervous system depression, cardiopulmonary complications and renal failure. Medical tests then detected the presence of ethylene glycol in his system.

Court documents say the amount of ethylene glycol the victim consumed could have killed him. He has had to undergo dialysis and is still under a doctor's care.

The executive director of the cancer research center, where both Gonzalez-Angulo and Blumenschein work, confirmed the substance is available in all the labs at MD Anderson, to which Gonzalez-Angulo had access.

A spokeswoman for the hospital issued the following statement Friday:

"Dr. Ana Maria Gonzalez-Angulo is on paid administrative leave from The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. MD Anderson declines further comment."

Gonzalez-Angulo is out on bond and had to turn over her passport. Her lawyer, Derek S. Hollingsworth, issued the following statement to Eyewitness News late Friday:

"Dr. Gonzalez-Angulo is completely innocent. She is a distinguished citizen and scientist, and these allegations are totally inconsistent with her personal and professional life. Although I have all the respect in the world for law enforcement, it is clear to me that the University of Texas Police Department jumped the gun in this case and filed charges that should never have been filed. We now have met with the Harris County District Attorney's Office several times and we have been assured that they are going to take a fresh and careful look at this case.

"We will continue to completely cooperate with them. I am comfortable that ultimately, they will do the right thing. Because I want the DA's office to be able handle this case without outside media influence, I will refrain from commenting further at this time."

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