The Blue People Essay, Research Paper
The Blue People of Troublesome Creek
Trost, Cathy. The Blue People of troublesome Creek. Science, November 1982. Pp. 35-39.
Martin Fugate was a French orphan who settled on the banks of eastern Kentucky s Troublesome Creek. His great-great-great-great grandson was born not far from Troublesome Creek. He was born with dark blue skin that appeared to be the color of a bruised plum. This color was due to blood inherited from past generations. His great-great-great-great grandson Benjy lost his blue tint within a few weeks. His lips and fingernails still turn a shade of purple-blue when he gets cold or angry.
The people that have this are simply known as blue people . The recessive gene causes this ailment. Madison Cawein, a hematologist from the University of Kentucky came down to troublesome Creek in the 1960 s to cure the blue people, Martin Fugate s descendants had multiplied their recessive genes all over the Cumberland Plateau. Cawein only found the blue people with the help of Ruth Pendergrass. Ruth was also known as a great big nurse . Ruth discovered a blue person when it walked into the health department that she worked at. She tried to expose this discovery so the blue disease could be cured. Cawein says, They were really embarrassed to be blue . After ruling out heart and lung diseases, the doctor suspected methemoglobinemia, a rare hereditary blood disorder that results from excess levels of methemoglobin in the blood. Methemoglobin, which is blue, is a nonfunctional form of the red hemoglobin that carries oxygen. It is the color of oxygen-depleted blood seen in the blue veins just below the skin.
E.M. Scott, a Public Health Service doctor at the Arctic Health Research Center in Anchorage had written a Journal of Clinical Investigation. In this he had discovered hereditary methemoglobinemia among Alaskan Eskimos and Indians. It was caused by an absence of the enzyme diaphoreses from their red blood cells. This condition is a recessive trait so it would most often appear in an inbred line.
Just like the Alaskans, their blood had accumulated so much of the blue molecule that it overwhelmed the red of normal hemoglobin that shows through as pink in the skin of most Caucasians. Cawein decided methylene blue was the perfectly obvious antidote. Cawein chose methylene blue because it had been used successfully and safely in other cases and because it acts so quickly. Once he injected each patient with the 100 milligrams of the antidote the blue color was gone from their skin.