Australian Erin Patterson, 48, is suspected of deliberately killing three family members and seriously injuring a fourth by feeding them a meal of death cap mushrooms last month.
As that investigation continues, an Australian who miraculously survived eating the deadly mushroom 25 years ago recently said he felt he was “preparing for the end” after telling his doctor symptoms of vomiting and reported diarrhea.
“He took one look at me and raced me to Canberra Hospital. And my wife gave me part of the mushroom in a paper bag,” Canberra’s Simon Claringbold said, according to ABC 7.30 Sky news.
“The liver specialist there looked at the mushrooms and basically said, ‘Oh yeah, that’s a death cap,'” continued Claringbold, who is in his 60s. “And they basically put me in an ambulance, flew me to Royal Prince Alfred in Sydney and I was put into the liver emergency unit.”
Death caps can lead to fatal kidney and liver failure Wild Food UK.
Claringbold mistakenly believed they were harmless when he picked them in his backyard, and his wife prepared dinner for them.
“It was probably at its worst after seven days,” he recalls. “That’s when I started to pass out, all I saw was tunnel vision and lights. I lay there, barely conscious. I was preparing for the end, I really thought it was the end. The lights slowly went out.”
The mushrooms typically grow under oak trees. According to Sky News, the color usually ranges from pale yellow-green to olive-brown, while the ridges on the underside of the cap are white.
Eating just one of these mushrooms can be deadly.
Claringbold appears to have survived the experience unscathed and was cared for by doctors at a hospital for 11 days.
Patterson’s family members weren’t so lucky.
She reportedly cooked a beef wellington pie with the mushrooms at her home in Leongatha on July 29.
Her 70-year-old former in-laws, Gail and Don Patterson, and Gail’s 66-year-old sister, Heather Wilkinson, died after being rushed to the hospital.
Heather’s 68-year-old husband, Pastor Ian Wilkinson, remains in critical condition while awaiting a liver transplant.
Patterson has become estranged from her husband Simon.
According to the Times of LondonA fifth person also fell ill at lunch, but was discharged from the hospital a short time later.
Authorities believe Patterson prepared lunch using a food dehydrator that was later discarded in the trash. Forensic testing is said to be ongoing.
Patterson and her two children reportedly didn’t eat the same meal. She has not been charged with any crime and has denied any wrongdoing.
“The loss to the community and to the families and my own children who lost their grandmother… I just can’t fathom what happened.” she said.
“I’m so sorry you lost your life. I just can’t believe it. I haven’t done anything, I love them and I’m devastated that they’re gone.”