Pufferfish meal kills man, poisons family

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Pufferfish meal kills man, poisons family

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A family of three fell ill after eating pufferfish or “butete” and were rushed to the hospital but the father did not survive the apparent poisoning and was declared dead on arrival.

Venerando Gocor, 75, was the worst hit after voraciously feasting on the pufferfish which he bought from a neighbor., according to his wife Conchita Gocor, 72.

Marlo Gocor, the victim’s 49-year-old son told DYRD Balita that they fell ill hours after having the delicacy as lunch, triggering breathing difficulties,vomiting, fainting and pain in the stomach among the victims.

The Gocor family was initially rushed to the Tubigon Community Hospital but was then referred to the Governor Celestino Gallares Memorial Hospital (GCGMH), 51 kilometers away from the town hospital, which lacked an antidote to pufferfish poisoning.

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The elder Gocor died on the way to the hospital but his wife and son survived the poisoning since they sparingly ate the pufferfish.

Pufferfish or “butete” is still considered a delicacy in the Philippines despite its reputation of being deadly and poisonous.

Pedro Milano, Fisheries Regulatory Officer, the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), Bohol Office advised those who eat puffer fish to take extra caution in the preparation and cleaning, especially with the gonads, liver, skin and intestines of the fish.

Also a delicacy in Japan, the pufferfish, or “fugu” in Japanese, is strictly controlled by law in the country as only qualified chefs are allowed to prepare the fish after three or more years of training.

The poison of the pufferfish is 1,200 times more lethal than cyanide with no known antidote with death occurring within minutes. (Chito M. Visarra with reports from Allen Doydora)

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