Skip to comments.Teen Goes Into Coma After Eating Toxic Fish
Posted on 07/23/2014 5:35:08 PM PDT by nickcarraway
Austin Goncalves, 15, is recovering after going into a coma.
He went into the coma after he got fish poisoning from a snapper in the Bahamas.
Austin is finally eating food for the first time in week. Im on anti-seizure medication, he told WTSP.
Earlier this month, Austin caught a mutton snapper that his mom cooked for dinner.
I couldnt eat, couldnt breath, Austin told the station. This was very serious, his mom, Karen Goncalves added. It could have ended our lives. Austin, his friend, Karen, and her boyfriend were all suffering from Ciguatera, which is a potentially fatal illness from eating toxic fish.
The family never heard of this disease but Karen knew something was wrong and called an ambulance. The kids were not responding, she said. They threw up all night and the next day and were pretty much unresponsive. They were all rushed to a local hospital but Karen wanted to get back to the United States. She thought they could die if they stayed in the Bahamas and asked for help through Facebook.
And I wanted to thank all of our friends and family who came together to make this possible for us to come home, she said.
Medical bills have since added up and it cost $10,000 for each to be flown out of the Bahamas.
The Mar Vista Dockside Restaurant & Pub on Longboat Key had a fundraiser to help Austin.
The Blue Marlin Grill will also have a fundraiser.
If you are interested in donating to help Austin, you can contribute via their fundraising website.
Travel health insurance is a good thing
I had Red Snapper for dinner 2 nights ago. What kind of snapper did these kids eat?
Some helicopter med services, such as Care Flight in DFW offer yearly memberships, which will also cover flights back home in case of a medical emergency. Check your area.
The article says it was mutton snapper.
I usually don’t eat red snapper because it is pretty expensive but I have never even heard of there being a problem with it being toxic.
Ciguatera is a foodborne illness caused by eating certain reef fish whose flesh is contaminated with toxins originally produced by dinoflagellates such as Gambierdiscus toxicus which live in tropical and subtropical waters. These dinoflagellates adhere to coral, algae and seaweed, where they are eaten by herbivorous fish who in turn are eaten by larger carnivorous fish. In this way the toxins move up the food chain and biomagnify.
According to Dr. McBoomlis, Gambierdiscus toxicus is the primary dinoflagellate responsible for the production of a number of similar toxins that cause ciguatera. These toxins include ciguatoxin, maitotoxin, scaritoxin and palytoxin. Predator species near the top of the food chain in tropical and subtropical waters, such as barracudas, snapper, moray eels, parrotfishes, groupers, triggerfishes and amberjacks, are most likely to cause ciguatera poisoning, although many other species cause occasional outbreaks of toxicity.
Mr. Mercat and I lived for two months in Yucatan, catching and eating the native fish. We ate lots of snapper and one barracuda. We also ate parrot fish. The thing about the top predators is that any poison in the prey fish end up being concentrated in the top predator. So the parrot fish eat the coral which is toxic. The barracuda and the snapper eat the parrot fish. We didn’t get sick but we did talk about it since one of the men we were camping with had been a professional fisherman. He ate the barracuda raw however so we felt we could eat it cooked.
Mutton snapper are edible, but these unlucky folks were poisoned by ciguatera which can happen with tropical fish. It’s caused by toxic plankton, I believe.
When I was in college in the mid 60s there was a seafood restaurant right across the street from where I lived. This was in Pensacola.
About once a month I would treat myself to a mullet platter which was cheap and flat out delicious. I wish I could still get them.
The neurological manifestations of giguatera are beyond weird.
I think next time I’ll just order the chicken, thank you very much.
Of couse, best is catch, photo and release.
If not cooked properly, you might meet Sal Monella.
Excellent review article-
Ciguatera is a classic board question.
What? They don’t get unlimited free health care down there? How racist.
I hope Halibut is safe to eat =)
from the article-
“Rather, cold or even room temperature objects, when touched, produce a disagreeable burning sensation; and warm objects produce a sensation described variously by victims in such terms as “ice burning cold”, “chilled”, or “cold-sharp”. Warm fluids are particularly distressing and showering or bathing may be too painful to endure by some severely poisoned victims.”
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