Mother and Son in Coma After Eating Puffer Fish, Official Says

Nurses treat two patients who fell into comas after eating puffer fish in Maha Sarakham province, 15 June 2015.

MAHA SARAKHAM — Two people have been admitted to the emergency room at a hospital in Maha Sarakham province after eating toxic puffer fish yesterday.

Thong Chaoprai, 84, and her son, Banchong Chaoprai, 48, ate the fish after catching them in a pond near their village in Nong Thum district, according to one of their relatives, Noosoon Chaoprai.

Noosoon said the pair began vomiting and breathing heavily soon after eating the fish, and eventually fainted. They were initially taken to a local clinic, but doctors later transferred them to a larger hospital because their condition was deemed critical, Noosoon told reporters.

Thong and Banchong are still in a coma at the intensive care unit at Maha Sarakham provincial hospital, and have been placed on life support, medical workers say.

Pufferfish contain powerful toxins that can be fatal to humans. However, a former MP for Maha Sarakham province said many fishermen in the region regularly consume the fish, resulting in occasional deaths and injuries.

“When I meet with local residents, I try to warn them not to catch and eat this fish, because it’s dangerous, it can kill them,” Suchart Srikang told Khaosod.  “But this type of incident keeps happening.”

Karn Sriboonlue, a chief district officer in Maha Sarakham, said local administrators will make an announcement on the speakers mounted in their villages to remind citizens not to eat the deadly fish.

“Many months ago, two people died from eating puffer fish. This time, someone got poisoned by puffer fish again. Why do they still catch this fish?” Karn said.