by Doug Powell
It was a dish made from backyard mushrooms that sent a family of four to the hospital and a combination treatment of charcoal and an experimental drug that helped save them.
CTnow.com reports the Newington family’s harrowing tale began Thursday when Shah Noor, 40, picked some mushrooms from their backyard. She cooked them with onions, garlic and green chili peppers for dinner that night. Everyone in the family agreed that it was a tasty meal.
But early Friday morning, Noor’s husband Musarat Ullah, 59, and their daughter, Aiman Bibi, 21, had severe stomach pains and went to St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center in Hartford. There, Dr. Danyal Ibrahim, director of toxicology, urged Ullah to call home to make sure everyone else was OK.
“When I called, I heard this hue and cry,” he said. His wife was vomiting and his other daughter, Wafa Guloona, 24, was on the floor holding her stomach. Guloona managed to drive herself and her mother to the hospital, stopping twice to throw up.
After asking what they had eaten recently, it didn’t take long for Ibrahim to focus on the mushrooms. The mushrooms were of the species Amanita bisporigera, common in the northeast. The white mushrooms are perfectly nice looking, but they’re also known as the “destroying angel” and ingesting them can be deadly.
In many cases, the symptoms — severe vomiting, diarrhea and nausea — show up within six hours. That’s actually the better of the two outcomes, and it is what happened to Ullah and Bibi. Delayed symptoms, the kind that affected Noor and Guloona, can be more dangerous. In that case, the toxins from the mushroom are more likely to attack the liver directly.
By late Friday, all four were in the hospital’s emergency department being treated with a combination of IV fluids to restore electrolytes, a charcoal solution that absorbs the toxins and a drug known as N-Acetylcysteine, which helps restore damaged liver cells.
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