Woman who suffered paralysis from whippets shares story to warn others

A Detroit woman says she was paralyzed after doing whippets. She is now learning to walk again and talking about what happened in hopes of educating others.

Latisha Holder just turned 32 — never expected to be celebrating her birthday in the hospital.

"I’m lucky to be here," she said.

Last month after doing whippets, Holder says everything changed.

"I remember waking up, getting out of bed (and) I just end up collapsing - I couldn’t feel my body, I was numb," she said. "I couldn’t walk at all, couldn’t even move my legs, my hands were stuck in certain places.

"It was very terrifying. I thought I was dying inside and out - it felt like it."

"When a person consumes nitrous oxide of course it’s a neurotoxin which can affect the nerves," said Dr. Ahmed Chaudhary with DMC Sinai Grace Hospital.

Holder is now undergoing extensive physical therapy and sharing her story to warn others.

"I didn’t know it because it was actually put into balloons first," she said. "That’s how I started doing them and then they put  them in a can - and I just kept on doing them and I never stopped for three years."

Holder and her friend vow to never use nitrous oxide again.

"It took me to go through this to realize (it)," she said. "And it’s not good, I just want people in the world, they need to stop doing them. It’s not for a human’s body."

"They're addictive, they’re very addictive so we would just do them daily," said Barbara Carter, her friend. "All day, we'd keep buying them - from the gas station."

It is now illegal in Michigan to sell nitrous oxide for recreational purposes.

Holder is making progress - and doctors say she is lucky.

"If the treatment is not issued in time, the paralysis can be irreversible," said Chaudhary.