Husband Of Woman Who Died Eating Pufferfish Also Passes Away After 2 Weeks In ICU

The couple's daughter is now urging the authorities to ensure the enforcement of existing laws surrounding the sale of the poisonous fish.

Cover image via New Straits Times & China Press

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Two weeks after his wife died of pufferfish poisoning, an elderly man died in the intensive care unit (ICU) of a hospital in Johor on Saturday, 8 April, of the same after-effects of eating the fish

It was reported that 84-year-old Ng Chuan Sing had bought, cooked, and consumed the fish with his wife, 83-year-old Lim Siew Guan, on 25 March.

After eating the fish for lunch, they both suffered difficulty breathing and were rushed to the hospital by their son.

Lim lost consciousness upon arriving at the emergency department and died at 7pm on the same day, while her husband was sent to the ICU.

Their daughter, 51-year-old Ng Ai Lee, is now hoping for the authorities to take appropriate action and regulate the sale of the poisonous fish

According to The Straits Times, Ng, a chief financial officer of a public listed company, is also campaigning to raise awareness among the public on the dangers of eating pufferfish.

The daughter said her father had actually bought the pufferfish from his regular fishmonger, who peddles fish from a van outside his old folks' home, and was sad to learn that the seller had not informed her father that the fish he was buying was poisonous.

"An earlier statement that said my father bought the fish via Facebook is not true," Ng clarified when contacted by New Straits Times.

"This is the first time my father had bought this type of fish. When my brother brought my parents to the hospital, my father told him that he did not know the fish he bought was pufferfish and was poisonous.

"This is the first time my parents ate pufferfish. They would not have taken it for fun because they are careful and health conscious people.

"The seller said that he has been selling pufferfish all this while and his customers have been okay. The seller also said that the poisoning could be due to other food or my parents' health," she said.

According to Ng, her father had bought 1kg of the fish for RM18.

Ng is now urging the government to ensure the enforcement of existing laws and make amendments, if needed, to eliminate the trading of pufferfish among laypeople

Although her father did not buy the fish online, she claims that the fish is also openly traded on e-commerce platforms and Facebook.

"It is important to educate the public, and traders should have the social responsibility to stop trading.

"This incident will soon be forgotten, but no life should be lost further due to the poisonous fish. It is of utmost importance to create more awareness to protect lives," she said.

In response to the incident, Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah released a statement saying that pufferfish, which contains dangerous toxins, is not allowed to be sold

Section 13 of the Food Act 1983 clearly prohibits the sale of any food that has in or upon it any substance which is poisonous, harmful, or otherwise injurious to health, he said in a statement on 30 March.

According to MOH data, there have been 58 pufferfish poisoning incidents, involving 18 deaths, since 1985.

It was reported that up to 15kg of pufferfish was sold and delivered to customers in Chamek, Kluang that day:

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