Chinese teenager dies after picking up cup used to store weedkiller to drink from river

Fifteen-year-old dies from poisoning a month after the incident

PUBLISHED : Monday, 10 September, 2018, 2:48pm
UPDATED : Monday, 10 September, 2018, 11:12pm

A teenage boy in central China has died after drinking from a plastic cup thought to have been used to store weedkiller, Chinese media reported.

The teenager from Shiyan in Hubei province, who had just celebrated his 15th birthday, became seriously ill a week after the incident and was taken to intensive care, where he spent three weeks before succumbing on Thursday, reported.

The teenager, whose full name was not given, was out by the river near his home in Zhuxi county last month when he picked up the cup, which doctors later concluded was contaminated by the herbicide paraquat, to drink water from the river.

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The report said that he had thrown the cup away after finding the water tasted terrible, but soon became ill.

The teenager initially suffered from vomiting and diarrhoea and was treated by doctors at a local hospital.

His condition worsened on the night of August 15 and was then sent to a leading hospital in Shiyan for emergency treatment, where he was diagnosed with liver and kidney failure, pulmonary fibrosis and damage to the inside of his mouth.

His father, Guo Yuanbing, said the boy had only mentioned that he had used the empty cup when doctors diagnosed a severe case of poisoning.

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“Before that we had been totally confused how he got poisoned,” he was quoted as saying.

Guo also said that there were paddy fields beside the river and at this time of year many farmers used weedkillers to protect their crops.

By Thursday, medical staff decided that the boy’s lungs had been so seriously damaged his only hope of survival was a transplant, his doctor Zeng Huanchao said.

But Zeng said there was little chance of finding a suitable donor in time and the boy’s family would have struggled with the cost of a transplant so they eventually decided to turn off his life support.