A Bolivian woman has died from an injection of urine allegedly administered by her friend as a form of health therapy, a prosecutor said Tuesday.
Investigating prosecutor Oscar Flores told The Associated Press that 35-year-old Gabriela Ascarrunz died Saturday of an "infection caused by urine that was injected by fashion designer Monica Schultz."
Local newspapers reported that Schultz, who is known across Bolivia for her clothing lines, is a practitioner of urine therapy — a form of alternative medicine using human urine for cosmetic purposes or to treat various diseases. Some people rub it on their skin, while others inject or drink it.
Skeptical scientists and physicians say there is no evidence urine treatment works and that chemicals it contains could potentially be toxic.
An arrest order was issued for Schultz.
The designer reportedly proclaimed her innocence from the United States, where she was promoting a new collection.
"I am surprised by the accusations, but I feel obligated to say I am innocent," she said, according to an e-mail read on ATB television. The AP was not immediately able to contact Schultz.
Officials did not say where the urine came from, and it was not immediately clear whether Ascarrunz, a veterinarian, also practiced urine therapy.
Alfredo Romero, director of the Incor clinic in the eastern province of Santa Cruz, said Ascarrunz was admitted last Thursday in serious condition to have surgery for an intestinal obstruction.
The alleged fatal injection came two days later as she was being treated in intensive care. The urine apparently was administered into fluid, or serum, that Ascarrunz was receiving intravenously.
"The victim's father realized that that woman (Schultz) had injected the urine," Flores said. "She was immediately expelled from the hospital and the serum was ordered changed, but unfortunately it was too late."