An elderly woman died, and her husband is in a coma after they ate a deadly pufferfish for lunch

  • An elderly woman died, and her husband was in a coma after they ate pufferfish.

  • The couple bought the fish from a trusted fishmonger in Malaysia without knowing it could be poisonous.

  • Pufferfish is only safe to eat if prepared in a special manner that removes the toxic parts.

An 83-year-old woman died, and her husband is in a coma after they ate pufferfish without knowing it contained deadly toxins.

Their daughter Ng Ai Lee said that her 84-year-old father purchased it from a fishmonger in Malaysia last Saturday, despite having never heard of the fish before, Malaysian newspaper The Star reported.

"My parents have been buying fish from the same fishmonger for many years, so my father did not think twice about it," she said.

"He would not have knowingly bought something so deadly to eat and put their lives in danger."

Her mother, Lim Siew Guan, began having difficulty breathing and was shivering after she fried and ate the fish for lunch, and her husband soon began exhibiting similar symptoms.

Ng said that she and her brother rushed to their parents and were halfway through the journey when they received news that their mother had died.

Her cause of death was identified as food poisoning with neurological manifestation resulting in respiratory failure and irregular heart rate, possibly due to consuming the fish, The Star reported.

Ng said she was devastated and felt "indescribable" pain after her mother's shock death.

Her father is in a coma and continues to be treated in the intensive care unit at the hospital.

"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 anymore, due to his old age," Ng said.

Pufferfish can contain potent and deadly toxins tetrodotoxin and/or saxitoxin, which can cause severe illness and death, according to the Food and Drug Administration.

The agency says that the fish is only safe to eat if cleaned and prepared in a special manner that removes the toxic parts, as the toxins cannot be destroyed by cooking.

As a result, the agency recommends only buying the fish from a known safe source.

In Japan, only qualified chefs with knowledge of toxin removal are authorized to serve pufferfish, but there are no equivalent guidelines in Malaysia.

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