A Lamar student fainted Thursday morning, April 18, and struck her head, splitting it open and causing it to bleed around 10:30 while attending class in the Cherry Engineering Building at Lamar University in Beaumont.
As a result, another student fainted due to an extreme fear of blood, said Lamar University Police Chief Jason Goodrich.
Hemophobia, a fear of blood, is unlike other phobias in that it can cause a drop in blood pressure and heart rate. This sudden drop can lead to fainting, a relatively common response to the sight of blood, according to the Gale Encyclopedia of Medicine.
"The other student saw the blood and she passed out too," Goodrich said. "She couldn't handle the sight of blood. It freaked her out."
Goodrich said that a faculty member saw the two students go down and pulled the fire alarm.
"There was some construction going on in the building," he said. "(The faculty member) thought it might have been related to some kind of noxious fume and, just as a precaution, went ahead and pulled the fire alarm."
Because the alarm sounded, students and faculty then evacuated the building, Goodrich said.
Lamar University Police, the Beaumont Fire Department, and EMS responded to the scene. Firefighters found no noxious fumes, Goodrich said. Classes reconvened around 11 a.m.
"Our main goal was to make sure there wasn't some kind of gas leak," he said. "It turned out good."
According to Goodrich, authorities did not know the cause for the injured student fainting, but she was taken to St. Elizabeth Hospital to be evaluated and treated for minor injuries.