Daily News investigates: Mystery of family with blue skin solved
KENTUCKY: In one of the most bizarre stories we’ve ever covered as news personalities, we have to say this one takes the cake by far. More than 30 years ago Benjamin ‘Benjy‘ Stacy frightened his maternity doctors so bad with the color of his skin (which was dubbed ‘Bluer than Lake Louise‘ that he was immediately rushed hours after his birth to Univ. Kentucky‘s Medical Center.
As a blood transfusion was being readied, the babies grandmother suggested to health officials that he resembled the ‘Blue Fugates of Troublesome Creek’. Relatives of the family have described his grandmother was the ‘Bluest woman we’ve ever seen’
In a twist to the bizarre story, that involves both genetics and geography an entire family isolated from Appalachia was tinged the ugliest color of blue known to man. Their ancestral line began more than 6 generations ago with a French orphan, Martin Fugate, who settled in Eastern Kentucky.
Doctor’s do not normally see much of this rare blood disorder today, because mountain people have widely dispersed and the family gene pool is much more diverse in modern day.
But the story of the Fugates offers a window into one of medicine’s strangest mysteries in modern history, except it wasn’t all that hard to be solved with the sleuth-like knowledge of Dr. Madison Cawein III, a hematologist at the University of Kentucky’s Lexington Medical Center.
Cawein died in 1985, but his family charts and blood samples led to a sharper understanding of the recessive diseases that only surface if both parents carry a defective gene.
Methemoglobinemia is a blood disorder in which an abnormal amount of methemoglobin — a form of hemoglobin — is produced, according to the National Institutes for Health. Hemoglobin is responsible for distributing oxygen to the body and without oxygen, the heart, brain and muscles can die.
- Genetics Solves Modern Mystery of Blue-Tinged Family (abcnews.go.com)
- Inbreeding Turns Appalachians Blue (weeklyworldnews.com)
- The Blue Family (neatorama.com)
- Blue people Inbreeding????? What do you think??? (disclose.tv)
- Pioneering a Way to Distinguish Blood Disorders From Child Abuse (propublica.org)