REPORT: Woman Dies After Eating ‘Deadly’ Puffer Fish, Husband In Critical Care

(Photo by PHILIP FONG/AFP via Getty Images)

Font Size:

An 83-year-old woman died after eating a puffer fish reportedly purchased by her husband in Malaysia who reportedly had “no idea” the fish was toxic.

According to the couple’s 51-year-old daughter, Ng Ai Lee, 51, her father purchased the fish from a local fishmonger after finding there were not many selections left to choose from. If he had known the fish was known to contain deadly toxins, Lee insisted to The Star, he would not have purchased it and put their lives in danger.

Lim Siew Guan, Lee’s mother, subsequently fried up the purchased fish for lunch, After consuming it, both Guan and her husband began experiencing shivers and breathing difficulties, the outlet reported. Lee’s brother, who lives in the same village as his parents, rushed the elderly couple to the hospital and informed the rest of the family living in Kuala Lumpur what had happened. (RELATED: Massachusetts Mother And Son Nearly Die After Eating ‘Death Cap’ Mushroom In Backyard)

While traveling home to oversee their care in the hospital, Guan passed away, leaving Ng “devastated,” according to the outlet.  “The pain and emotions that I felt at the time were indescribable because it was just too unexpected,” Ng stated.

Though Ng’s father is still alive, he remains in a coma in the intensive care unit in the hospital as doctors attempt to treat the toxins coursing through his body. “I am prepared for the worst because the doctor told us that even if he is able to pull through the ordeal, he might not be the same any more, due to his old age,” Ng told the outlet.

Ng hopes her tragedy will lead to a government regulation regarding the sale of the deadly fish for consumption. “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,” she told the outlet.

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

Johor health and unity committee chairman Ling Tian Soon conceded that consuming puffer fish can be fatal unless they are cleaned properly, pointing to highly qualified chefs in Japan who regularly serve the fish.

“The public is advised to avoid buying and consuming puffer fish as one wrong move from the untrained hand could result in the flesh being tainted by potent toxins.Similar cases have happened before. It is better for consumers to stick to the types of fish they are familiar with,” Soon told the outlet.

In the wake of Guan’s death and her husband’s continuing illness, Malaysia’s Health Director-General Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah stated the Malaysian Fisheries Development Authority Act 1972 and Section 13 of the Food Act 1983 “prohibits the sale of any food that has in or upon it any substance which is poisonous, harmful or otherwise injurious to health,” Malay Mail reported.

“Therefore, puffer fish which contain dangerous toxins are not allowed to be sold,” he said March 30, according to the outlet.