This came up in rounds today. A 75yo Male presented to our ER today with bluish fingers. toes, and lips. At first we thought he was oxygen deprived (Cyanotic) but we later found that he was drinking silver nitrate and developed Argyria. Silver nitrate is a Complementry Alternative Medicine which was used to treat infections before antibiotics were developed. Why does it cause blueish-grey skin? Silver is deposited into the tissues it comes in contact with and usually is irreversible. I had to post a few pics I found while researching this crazy case...
Paul Karason started drinking silver nitate 14 years ago and now is affectionately known as "Papa Smurf"
Stan Jones, a Libertarian candidate for US Senate in 2002. He was unsuccessful in his attempt as well as other s to become Govenor of Montana. He started taking silver nitrate prior to Y2K because of fears antibiotic production would be stopped by computer failures.
The guy I saw today was not nearly as bad...just looks like he's been out in subfreezing temps for an hour or so. It's amazing what people do to themselves sometimes!