Shiri Berg was 22 years old, studied Biochemistry at North Carolina State University, and she was planning to go to Medical school afterwards.
On December 27 2004, she had an appointment at a clinique (Premier Body Laser Clinics in Raleigh) for a laser treatment for hair removal. They had given her a Lidocaïne creme to numb the pain, so she put the creme on at home, just before she took the car and drove to her appointment. While she was driving from North Carolina State University on route 40 to the local spa, she felt woozy and pulled over. She never arrived and got unconscious. After 10 days in coma, on January 5 2005, she died.
Her death was caused by the gel creme she had put on her legs, is what we are told. She had an overdose of Lidocaïne, it was concluded. Since when do biochemistry students not have an opinion about how to numb (small) pains? A physician connected to a Raleigh spa that administered a fatal dose of lidocaine agreed two years later to a reprimand by the North Carolina Medical Board. To me this is odd, as Lidocaïne is a standard drug.
The gel she was given by the clinique is called Lasergel 10-10. It contains 10% Lidocaïne and 10% Tertacaïne (a relavtively high percentage of a standard drug, as 7% of Lidocaïne is normal). Lidocaïne is on the internationaal market since 1947, e.g. it is not an unknown drug. Lidocaïne starts to work within half an hour after applying it on the skin (works for multiple hours). The combination of Lidocaïne and Tetracaïne is often used for local anestesia. There are even small bondages to apply with these two drugs, for small kids who are afraid the needle might hurt, when they need an injection of some sort. As far as I can tell, it is not that strange to apply this gel for this kind of treatment.