Though I was very happy to act on a request to Retweet this account of the accidental poisoning of a 2-year old girl by Digitalis, foxgloves, I thought I would also blog about it in the hope of giving it wider distribution.
As well as being a detailed account of how the poisoning occurred, the effects it produced and the level of care provided to both the child and her parents during the child’s stay in hospital, I was struck by the author’s concern to make clear that this was a very rare incident and that people should not become hysterical about foxgloves.
It is quite a lengthy piece but well worth reading and I won’t summarise it here for fear that you may not then follow the link. As well as being a clear description of how the poisoning occurred and the symptoms produced it makes it very clear that we, in the UK, are very fortunate to have the NHS.
The follow-up piece, written a couple of days later, is also an interesting read.
I was once asked, after a talk, whether I thought I was putting the beautiful displays of foxgloves one often sees in the country in danger by drawing attention to their potential to do harm. I replied that I always tried to stress how rare accidental poisonings were but felt it was important that people be aware of the possibility.
There is always the problem of the difference between what a speaker says and what the listener hears. As much as I try to get across that poisonous plants have been around for a very long time and we have evolved not to kill ourselves at every opportunity by accidentally eating something seriously harmful, I have no way of knowing whether members of my audience go home and take out all the plants I've included. I can only hope that this does not happen.
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