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Plant of Death: Poisonous Berry in NYC Park Nearly Kills Girl

Nov 05, 2016 04:51 AM EDT
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A two-year-old girl nearly died after eating a poisonous berry in a Manhattan playground. The unfortunate incident has raised an alarm among parents who love to take their kids out at the famous park.

Reporting about the incident, Hazel Sanchez, reporter of CBS2 said Joy Vernon saw the berries in the water fountain in a Kips Bay playground.

Joy was with her father when she ate the berries she found in the water fountain at the Asser Levy. When her father asked his wife, Natalie Gruppuso about the berries, Gruppuso searched the Internet and found out that what Joy just put on her mouth was poisonous berries. Gruppuso immediately called poison control.

"Poison control told us that they are quite toxic, can cause cardiac arrest and are lethal. So I met them on the way to NYU Hospital and we took her to the emergency room," Gruppuso told the reporter.

The berries were identified as yew berries. Yew or Taxus baccata is a plant species has some edible qualities but are not at all for human consumption. According to Tree Hugger, the seeds inside a yew berry are poisonous, rather than the fruit itself, and are known for causing death very suddenly.

In 2014, BBC reported about a man who died after ingesting the poison from a yew tree. The inquest heard he died of taxine alkaloid ingestion. Taxine is the poisonous alkaloid mixture found in the tree.

Aol reported that Joy was in the emergency room for seven hours before doctors determined she was not poisoned. But if she had eaten a little more, her heart could have stopped beating and she could have died immediately.

Meanwhile, since the incident, which occurred last September, Joy's parents have been petitioning alongside with other parents, demanding NYC Department of Parks and Recreation to get rid of these plants or at least put up some signs warning parents about these poisonous berries in the park.

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