The Museum of Hoaxes
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Cursed by Allah
Dog wins art contest, 1974
A black lion: real or fake?
Burger King's Left-Handed Whopper Hoax, 1998
The Hitler Diary Hoax, 1983
Fake Fish Photos
Jernegan's Gold Accumulator Scam, 1898
Tube of liquor hidden in prohibition-era boot, 1920s
Female thieves hide money in their bras, 1950
The Great Wall of China Hoax, 1899
Microwave Cooking is Killing You!
At this link you'll find a long essay ranting about the evils of microwave ovens. It claims that food cooked in a microwave, no matter what kind of food it is: "increases cholesterol, increases white blood cell numbers, decreases red blood cell numbers, and causes production of radiolytic compounds (compounds unknown in nature)". All sounds a bit dubious, but I'm actually more interested in one specific story told at the beginning of the article:

There was a lawsuit in 1991 in Oklahoma. A woman named Norma Levitt had hip surgery, but was killed by a simple blood transfusion when a nurse "warmed the blood for the transfusion in a microwave oven!" 

This seemed a bit unlikely to me, but a quick google search revealed that this same story, with almost the exact same wording, appears on many sites. So obviously this is a tale that the anti-microwave people have been spreading around. However, a little more searching reveals that the story isn't true. The incident did happen, but a jury found that Norma Levitt was killed by a blood clot, not by blood heated in a microwave.
Categories: Food
Posted by The Curator on Thu May 12, 2005
Comments (42)
I read the court summary in the link above. 1) the original case was NOT concluded before a jury, it was settled out of court, so we don't know what killed the lady (or who "won" the case). 2) this case was the appeal by those defendants excluded by the settlement but still implicated by the original case, effectively in limbo. They won.

The essential question was did microwaving effect the blood. Of course it did, in the same way that cooking it in a conventional oven would. Yes, it is likely that the blood was cooked, not just heated. If you can heat a meal from 10
Posted by Kiwi-Ian  in  New Zealand  on  Tue Mar 02, 2010  at  08:25 PM
Yeah i remember hearing this before. It's not true but does anyone know where it originated from?
Posted by Microwaves  in  UK  on  Mon Jun 07, 2010  at  11:30 AM
Microwave cannot cook the food in a very even way, what you usually get from microwave oven is a mixture of frozen and overheated stuff.
So how can such equipment be used for warming blood, the nurses must have used microwave to heat IV fluids too often and their commen sense is it is no harm, but blood is no ordinary fluid. No wonder hemolysis happened and killed the patient.

Microwave can cook the food in a much faster way, therefore I think to the contrary of the assay, microwave can help retain more nutrient substances in the food.
Posted by Kyle  in  China  on  Mon Jul 12, 2010  at  05:46 AM
I suggest you actually read the legal transcript that this post links to. From the footnotes of the transcipt:

"Heating blood in this manner destroys the red blood cells, resulting in "gross hemolysis" of the blood, releasing large amounts of potassium. Excessive potassium, when introduced into the body, is often fatal. The practice of warming Intravenous (IV) fluids, other than blood, in the microwave was an accepted practice at Hillcrest Medical Center, as reflected in its written procedures."
Posted by jay  in  Austin, TX  on  Thu Aug 26, 2010  at  11:29 AM
More pseudo science and conspircay theories from people who only listened to half of what the teacher said and made up the other half.

I wonder if these people get contacted by aliens through their microwaves.
Posted by Benr  in  UK  on  Sat Dec 11, 2010  at  07:32 AM
I believe it is true. You will burn yourself if you touch a fire but you will be in trouble if you start a fire by rubbing your hand. Don't get it? When you heat meat or vegetables with a heat source, stove or oven the molecules of the meat or vegetables will not be destroyed. But if you heat the meat or vegetables by rotating, rubbing or vibrating their molecules millions of times per second, a by product that is not good for our body to induce will possibly be produce.
Posted by remy  on  Thu Aug 04, 2011  at  09:14 AM
correction: But if you heat the meat or vegetables by rotating, rubbing or vibrating their molecules millions of times per second, a by product that is not good for our body to digest will possibly be produced.
Posted by remy  on  Thu Aug 04, 2011  at  09:26 AM
*Facepalm*

Remy what exactly do you think heating food DOES? It transfers the heat energy to the food molecules causing them to rotate, rub, and vibrate faster. THAT is how things get hot, that is how heat is produced.

Seems the only byproduct microwave ovens really are causing is conspiracy theorists with tinfoil hats.
Posted by Truth  on  Mon May 21, 2012  at  04:58 PM
This article makes no sense. Since when is a Jury capable of performing the medical research necessary to determine the cause of death? Where are your links to scientific studies proving that microwaves aren't harmful to your health? I want the last two minutes of my life back.
Posted by John K  on  Mon Jul 23, 2012  at  08:42 AM
@remy

I'd like to know if you know this to be chemically possible. Or if you are just hypothesizing.

By rubbing your hand, you are heating (and possibly ripping) skin, yes. But nothing new chemically gets formed by doing so. Your ripped and heated skin is still the same molecular structure.

So no..., I don't get it.
Posted by Kurt  in  Canada  on  Thu Dec 13, 2012  at  03:49 PM
I've been killed by microwave ovens six or seven times now. And each time, my wife simply put a microwave oven next to me to undo the harmful radiation effects, and I've come back to life again. They're life savers!
Posted by Diamond Tredspane  in  Gilbert, AZ  on  Fri Dec 14, 2012  at  11:29 PM
Microwaves aren't dangerous if you keep the door shut, but heating blood in a microwave is extremely dangerous. Anybody with a rudimentary knowledge of bio/chem/phys will know that the blood will be destroyed; at least the parts closest to the container holding it. It will bubble and clot. So some of the stories don't surprise me. However, microwaves on their own are completely safe if one makes sure the door is closed.
Posted by Nim  in  England  on  Fri Apr 19, 2013  at  04:44 PM
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