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Tuesday
Oct292013

Man 'Cries' Tears of Blood, Seeks Answers

Courtesy University of Tennessee Health Science Center(ANTIOCH, Tenn.) -- Michael Spann didn't realize he was bleeding until a police officer drew her gun on him and shouted a profanity. Another time, it happened at a dollar store, prompting the cashier to back up until she hit the counter behind her.

Michael Spann, 29, was bleeding from his eyes.

Spann of Antioch, Tenn., has bled from his eyes for no apparent reason for more than seven years, his mother told ABC News. Although it started as a daily occurrence accompanied by headaches when Spann was 22, he now only bleeds about once or twice a week.

He also bleeds from his nose, mouth and ears during these episodes. There is no cure or relief for his unexplained condition.

The bleeding comes with excruciating headaches his mother, Peggy Spann, said. Her son was not feeling well enough to be interviewed by ABC News.

Doctors can't seem to figure out what causes Spann to bleed, and they've been unable to stop it, Peggy Spann said. They paid out-of-pocket to take Spann to the Cleveland Clinic twice, but there was nothing anyone could do.

Dr. James "Chris" Fleming, an ophthalmologist at the University of Tennessee's Hamilton Eye Institute in Memphis, told ABC News that he sees about three cases of bloody tears per year, but they're almost always explained by medical conditions ranging from lesions to cancer to drug use.

Fleming is not treating Spann.

Fleming and four other doctors authored a study in 2004 in which they described four patients whose bloody tears could not be explained in an 11-year period. The patients were between 6 and 14 years old, and their bloody tears have since gone away naturally, he said.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio