Medics suspected food poisoning before woman’s ‘mushroom’ death

5:35pm Friday 19th September 2008

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A woman who died of suspected mushroom poisoning was first thought to have been suffering from gastro-enteritis, an inquest opening heard today.

Thai national Amphon Tuckey, aka Bunchit, was pronounced dead at her home address in Carisbrooke High Street, Newport, on the Isle of Wight on Wednesday morning.

She ate what are believed to be death cap fungi for lunch with Thai sausages with her niece Kannika Tuckey on Monday.

Medics who examined her after she first started vomiting thought it was the sausages which had caused the symptoms.

Paramedics were called in the early hours of Tuesday morning and her husband Mike made two calls to an out-of-hours GP service before a GP went to the house, the Isle of Wight Coroner's Court heard.

It was thought at this point that food poisoning was to blame.

Mrs Tuckey, 39, continued to deteriorate and she died on Wednesday morning.

The coroner John Matthews was told that it was not until Mrs Tuckey had died and her niece was seriously ill in hospital that mushroom poisoning was considered.

Kannika Tuckey, who is in her 20s, is in a critical condition after being transferred to King's College Hospital in London for specialist treatment at the national centre for liver disease.

''It was not until about two days after the mushrooms had been eaten that they were considered to be an element in this tragedy,'' Mr Matthews said.

''It has been confirmed that mushrooms have caused the illness of the niece who has suffered liver damage.''

The court heard that a post-mortem examination on mother-of-two Mrs Tuckey was inconclusive and toxicology reports will take two to three months to complete.

Mrs Tuckey, also known on the island by the first name of June, had two sons from a previous marriage.

The fungi were collected from the Ventnor Botanic Garden on the island last weekend and both women then ate the fungi on Monday.

A Hampshire and Isle of Wight Police spokesman said earlier officers had shown a death cap fungus to Mrs Tuckey and she had said she had eaten that variety.

Death caps are common throughout the UK and they contain a poison which attacks the liver and kidneys, if eaten.

The inquest was adjourned to a date to be fixed.



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