Woman Dies, Man Left Fighting For His Life After Eating Toxic Puffer Fish

Puffer fish
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A toxic puffer fish in Malaysia has cost one person their life and leaves another fighting to survive.

A husband and wife bought fish from a market that they frequently visited, but with slim pickings left when they went, were left having to settle with buying the puffer fish, or “the drumstick fish” as it is known in Chinese. The couple, not knowing the potential dangers, went ahead with the purchase of the fish. Puffer fish is considered to be a delicacy, but only if it is prepared and served safely.

The couple’s daughter, Ng Ai Lee, told the Star that her parents had no idea of the dangers they were partaking in when they left the market with the toxic fish:

“My parents have been buying fish from the same fishmonger for many years so my father did not think twice about it.

He would not have knowingly bought something so deadly to eat and put their lives in danger.”

Lim Siew Guan, the mother who passed away, fried up the fish for lunch for herself and her husband. Shortly after consuming the fish, Guan began to shiver and experience breathing issues. The husband began to have similar symptoms about an hour afterwards, and they were both rushed to the hospital.

The 83 year old mother died later that very evening, and the 84 year old husband is still fighting for his life in the Intensive Care Unit of the hospital.

The Star reports that the cause of death for the mother was “food poisoning with neurological manifestation resulting in respiratory failure and irregular heart rate, possibly due to toxin ingestion from consuming the fish.”

The daughter of the couple is upset that such a poisonous fish could be sold at an open market without any warning. Lee is trying to at least use the story to spread awareness about the issue and has even called out the government to regulate the sale of the fish:

“I do not intend to blame anyone. I hope my parents’ experience can create more awareness among the public about consuming such fish or food with high levels of toxins.

“It is frustrating to know that people knowingly consume puffer fish. Do not take it for granted that nothing will happen to you.”

The New York Post reported on the story and gave information from the Food and Drug Administration, saying that the toxins that could be contained in the puffer fish “cannot be destroyed by freezing or cooking.”

They also went on to add that the FDA states “the central nervous system toxins (of the Puffer Fish) are more deadly than cyanide, with symptoms such as tingling and dizziness typically starting 20 minutes to two hours after ingesting the fish.”

The extreme nature of the toxins that Puffer Fish can house make it incredibly challenging for them to be commercially imported into the United States.

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