Four people on South Whidbey were recently left in critical condition after accidentally poisoning themselves, according to South Whidbey Fire/EMS Deputy Chief Wendy Moffatt.
Moffatt said the latest update the fire district received from hospitals indicated the patients would recover.
All of the details are unclear due to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), which protects the names of patients. Moffatt could confirm they were South Whidbey residents, but couldn’t say where on the island they lived to conceal their identity.
“They were critical patients, yet are all hopeful to make a full recovery now,” Moffatt said. “In the last week, we almost lost four people because they ate something they did not recognize was dangerous.”
The poisonings occurred in two separate incidents.
Two adults accidentally poisoned themselves on May 9 by eating mushrooms they picked on their property. Moffatt said the adults could be described as mushroom “experts” who had foraged the fungi on their property for years.
It is unclear if the patients were foraging for edible mushrooms or psilocybe mushrooms, which are known for their psychedelic properties. They’re also known as “magic mushrooms.”
Some mushrooms can be fatal if digested.
“People need to be really careful,” Chief Rusty Palmer said. “When it comes to mushrooms, people need to be abundantly sure that they know what they’re doing. I don’t know much about them, but there are some that look like other safe and edible kinds of mushrooms.”
A few days before the mushroom incident on May 6, Moffatt also said two children “under the age of five” became critically ill after they ingested horse medicine. She said the two children got into “foil-wrapped medication” in their home.
It is unclear what the medication was.
The incidents spurred Palmer to urge caution over accidental poisonings, and said people should be careful with the medication in their homes.
“Accidental overdose of any medicine is possible,” Palmer said. “We see it in our older population often when they take meds and take it again because they forgot. I can only ask people to be careful with their medications, especially if kids are around.”