GOVERNMENT doctors are investigating what exactly caused the death of a five-year-old boy and the illness of his parents and five siblings on Tuesday, March 26, immediately after they ate stewed puffer fish and shellfish.
Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center (VSMMC) doctors said the family’s ailments may also be attributed to other food they’d eaten.
Margie Casiao, 36, said her husband, Florencio, 38, and one of their kids were cooking “linarang nga tikong” or sour and spicy stewed puffer fish, some crabs and fish for the family’s breakfast on Tuesday.
Margie, Florencio and their children—Gian, 12; Miles, 10; Derek, 9; Mateo, 5; Seantol, 4 and Maria Terissa, 2—ate the seafood at 7 a.m.
The eldest of the seven children was spared since she was at her grandparents’ house.
PO2 Lolie Boy Terana, desk officer of Lapu-Lapu City Police Office’s Police Station 1 based in Olango Island, said it was Gian who cleaned and gutted the puffer fish before cooking them.
By noon, the family members started feeling dizzy and began vomiting.
Margie said her children collapsed due to dizziness.
She decided to seek help after Mateo became unconscious and could no longer be revived. The five-year-old boy died at home.
Neighbors of the family brought them to the Sta. Rosa District Hospital in Olango Island.
After learning that the family ate puffer fish, hospital personnel gave them activated charcoal powder to neutralize the poisonous toxins in their body.
The family was brought to the VSMMC in Cebu City hours later for further medical assistance.
Margie and her husband opted not to receive medication as they wanted to take care of their children and prepare for the wake of their five-year-old son.
In a press conference, VSMMC Pediatrics chief Dr. Ramon Najarro said they had extracted blood from the Casiao couple and their children to be sent to the toxicology center of the Department of Health in Manila.
The laboratory exam will help determine what caused the food poisoning, Najarro said.
They are also investigating if the family may have suffered from severe food poisoning after they told their doctors that they also ate small crabs.
Najarro said that for now, the affected family members are being monitored 24/7 to determine if they indeed ingested deadly tetrodotoxin from puffer fish.
Najarro said ingesting tetrodotoxin could cause neuroparalysis and hypoventilation, among other symptoms, within 24 hours from ingestion. (JKV & GCM of SuperBalita Cebu)