Woman dies after eating ‘world’s deadliest mushroom’

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IOL mushrooms INLSA File photo: Steve Lawrence

Somerset, England -

A mother has died after accidentally eating the world’s deadliest mushroom - which she found sprouting in her garden.

Christina Hale, 57, was taken to hospital after consuming poisonous death cap mushrooms but died of multiple organ failure.

Her husband, who ate a smaller amount of the deadly mushroom, survived.

He was also hospitalised but recovered and is understood to have returned to the home he shared with his wife in Bridgwater, Somerset.

An inquest into Mrs Hale’s death has been opened and adjourned by West Somerset Coroner’s Court and a full hearing will take place in 2013.

Coroner Michael Rose said: “The cause of death was multiple organ failure due to poisoning by the death cap mushroom.

“She was admitted to hospital on the 18th of November and died on the 19th.”

The last recorded British fatality caused by a death cap mushroom was in 2008.

The death cap mushroom - Amanita phalloides - is responsible for the majority of deaths from accidental mushroom poisoning because of its similar appearance to safe varieties.

Just one stem is considered enough to kill an adult.

Often found in the autumn near oak trees, the death cap is a large mushroom with white gills and a cup-shaped sack around the base of the stem.

They are said to taste pleasant and smell faintly of roses.

But symptoms do not start to appear for up to 16 hours after consumption.

The ensuing stomach pain, vomiting and diarrhoea can then ease, leading the victim to believe a recovery is underway.

But the toxins continue to attack the body and death from liver or kidney failure typically occurs six to 16 days after consumption.

Last year the National Poisons Information Service (NPIS) said there were 257 cases of poisoning linked to eating mushrooms.

Dr John Thompson, of the NPIS, said: “While many mushrooms growing in the wild are tasty and safe to eat, it is not always easy to differentiate between toxic and non-toxic species - even for people with experience in foraging.”

He added that people should not eat mushrooms collected in the wild unless they are familiar with UK species and are sure the mushrooms they have collected are safe to eat. - Daily Mail


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