Doctors describe tainted pot emergency

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Some of the patients were coming in with bleeding from almost every orifice: their ears, their eyes, in their urine. Their symptoms were mysterious and severe and emergency room doctors across much of Illinois were mystified.

Some worried about Ebola, the viral hemorrhagic fever feared for the uncontrolled bleeding it was reputed to cause. Others struggled to dose patients with fresh plasma, which delivers natural blood clotting factors.

After frantic calls to one another across the state, doctors figured out that the patients had all been using synthetic marijuana — a product known variously as K2, Spice, Kush, Kronic, or Scooby Snax. It provided a cheap high and was sold in gas stations and convenience stores.

But why such dramatic injuries?

“People were just bleeding from some unknown cause,” said Dr. Jonathan Roberts, a blood specialist at the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Peoria.