Shiri Berg died January 5 2005, because of an Lidocaïne overdose, which she applied herself just before she had an appointment for hair removal laser treatment at a spa.
To the right, Berg’s Prom photo.
- Shiri Berg bought two 30-g tubes of the anesthetic Laser 10-10 gel on December 27 2004 for $40 each from Premier Body, a medical spa in Raleigh where the student planned to have a laser hair removal procedure the next day. Gail Campbell, a nurse employed by Kirby & Holt (law firm founded by former Senator John Edwards), stated that the gel contained 10% lidocaine, 10% tetracaine, and an unknown amount of phenylephrine.
- The product sold to Berg, labeled as Lasergel Plus 10/10 Gel, was prepared by Triangle Compounding Pharmacy of Cary, North Carolina.
- On December 28 Shiri Berg applied the gel to her legs herself and covered them in plastic, after which she got into her car to drive to the spa treatment facility. [It is not clear why the spa treatment facility did not opt for applying the gel in the facility themselves, as Lidocaïne works withing 30 minutes after applying it on the skin.]
- A passing motorist found Shiri Berg in the morning of December 28, on the side of the road on route 40 in Raleigh (link). She was found inside her locked car [she must have realized something was wrong and locked the car?], while unconscious and having convulsions. She later slipped into a coma. At first no-one understood why Berg’s lower body underneath her clothes was wrapped in cellophane, and her legs covered in gel. [it is unclear why she did not take off the gel immediately herself, when she felt woozy] Why would you lock the car, but not take off the gel / plastic wrapping?
- The Kirby & Holt law firm was investigating Berg’s death on behalf of her family. A February 2 autopsy report indicated that Berg died of anoxic brain injury due to lidocaine toxicity, said Kirby & Holt lawyer Laurie Armstrong. So we all know: anoxic brain injury is a total lack of oxygen provided to the brain.
An advantage of gel over creme, is how it is more easy to wash/take off. Contrary to creme, a gel largely stays on the skin surface (the water and alcohol evaporate). A too thick layer of gel on the skin, will be less quickly absorbed into the skin, compared to skin creme.
Many hair removal laser treatment facilities simply use an ice pack on the skin, to make sure it is not too painful for the client.
Questions we still have:
- Do we know with what symptoms she decided to pull over?
- Why was her car locked from the inside?
- Did she attempt to remove the gel, after she pulled over?
- How much phenylephrine was in the gel? Why doesnot the Lawyer firm tell us?
- How much gel did she apply? What were the Lidocaïne levels in her blood?
- How did the medical board decide it was the Lidocaïne that caused her death?
- How long after applying the gel was she treated by medical doctors?