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West J Med. 1985 May; 142(5): 637–640.
PMCID: PMC1306130

Seizures and Death on a White River Float Trip

Report of Water Hemlock Poisoning
Dennis Landers, MD, PhD
Emergency Department, St Alphonsus Regional Medical Center, and Southwest Idaho Poison Control Center


White river rafting is becoming a major summer recreational activity throughout the United States. Many people who are ill prepared physically or emotionally to survive will find themselves isolated and in extremely dangerous situations without access to medical help. In addition to the physical dangers of drowning, there are dangers that exist in the concept of “living off the land” and foraging for food. Cicuta douglasii is found in all of our western states, is extremely toxic and can easily be confused with wild parsnip or carrot. Physicians and poison control centers need to be aware of the common poisonous plants in their area and be prepared to treat cases of poisoning from these plants.

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