A 44-year-old construction worker in Taichung died on May 28 after accidentally ingesting an herbicide he had bought for an abandoned suicide attempt, police said.
Police said the man, surnamed Tseng (曾), was hospitalized on May 25 after he called a colleague and roommate saying he accidentally drank herbicide.
Tseng was later transferred to Linkou Chang Gung Memorial Hospital in New Taipei City, because his relatives lived there.
He was pronounced dead at the hospital on May 28.
Tseng reportedly told his colleagues that he had bought a bottle of herbicide with the intention of committing suicide and poured it into an empty fruit juice bottle, but later put the bottle under his bed after his younger sister on May 21 visited him and talked him out of killing himself.
Tseng’s colleagues said that he told them he felt thirsty after waking up on May 25 and reached for one of the bottles on the floor for a drink, adding that once he took a drink from the bottle he knew he had grabbed the wrong bottle.
Police said they arrived at Tseng’s apartment and found no signs of a break-in or struggle, adding that Tseng’s claims were highly plausible, but they are still waiting for autopsy results.
Meanwhile, a doctor said people should be very careful when handling herbicides.
National Taiwan University Hospital doctor Yang Chung-wei (楊忠煒) said that paraquat, the herbicide that Tseng drank, causes the lungs to become fibrous in two weeks, which causes difficulty breathing.
Paraquat can also lead to kidney and liver failure, Yang said.
While accidental ingestion of paraquat can be treated, usually through blood filtration and steroidal medication, the mortality rates are still very high, he added.
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