Authorities say a fourth person has died from eating poisonous mushrooms at a senior care facility in Loomis, California.
According USA Today, the woman, identified as Dorothy Mary Hart, passed away Tuesday after consuming a soup that contained toxic mushrooms earlier in the month.
As reported by The Inquisitr’s Patrick Frye, three others at the Gold Age Villa in Northern California died previously from ingesting the mushrooms in an incident sheriff’s investigators have previously characterized as a tragic accident.
The soup was quickly pinpointed as the cause behind the poisonings due to the fact that the only person living at the senior home who did not get sick also did not eat dinner that night.
A caretaker who prepared the soup, who was also among those sickened, apparently picked the mushrooms from the backyard of the six-bed care facility and did not know they were poisonous.
“This is an ongoing tragedy, an unfortunate accident,” said Dena Erwin, spokeswoman for the sheriff’s office.
The other people who have died were identified as 86-year-old Barbara Lopes; 73-year-old Teresa Olesniewicz and 90-year-old Frank Warren Blodgett.
According to Dr. Kent R. Olson, medical director of the San Francisco division of the California Poison Control System, vomiting and diarrhea associated with mushroom poisoning can take 12 hours or longer to develop, which often makes it difficult to diagnose.
The loss of fluids can cause kidney failure, but the poisons attack the liver and stop the organ from producing normal proteins. The victim usually falls into a coma, and the liver eventually shuts down and dies.
California recorded 1,700 cases of mushroom-related illnesses from 2009 to 2010, including two deaths.