Warsaw, Poland – A second Afghan boy recently evacuated from Kabul to Poland died after eating poisonous mushrooms.
The six-year-old had been transported to hospital and received emergency liver transplant. His condition remained highly critical throughout the week, and doctors were unable to save him. He was pronounced dead on Friday, one day after his five-year-old brother also passed away after eating death cap mushrooms, one of the most poisonous varieties in the world.
Both showed signs of severe brain damage caused by the intoxication, officials said.
“Unfortunately, we were not able to help the two boys,” Marek Migdal, the director of the hospital, told reporters.
Treated with the same condition, their sister, 17, was released from the Centre for Children’s Health Institute in Warsaw in good condition.
The parents had also been admitted under psychological care at the hospital.
The Afghan family of six was evacuated at Britain’s request (the father had worked with the British military) from Kabul to Poland following the Taliban takeover of the country. Put in mandatory quarantine in a refugee centre in Podkowa Lesna near Warsaw on August 23, they reportedly cooked a soup unknowingly using highly toxic mushrooms picked in a nearby forest.
Polish prosecutors are now investigating whether the centre is guilty of criminal negligence and unintentional exposure of people to a serious threat of loss of health or life, an offense that carries a jail term of up to three years.
Interior Minister Mariusz Kaminski appeared to defend the centre’s staff, describing the death of the two young boys as a “tragedy” but dismissing allegations of negligence.
Some have speculated that the Afghan family was forced to cook themselves due to insufficient food rations received at the refugee centre. A spokesperson for the Polish Foreigners’ Office denied those claims, insisting that the evacuees are given “three meals a day”.
Reports suggest four Afghan men were also hospitalized in another refugee centre near Warsaw after eating toxic mushrooms.
Poland evacuated more than 1,200 Afghans who had worked with Polish and NATO forces. While most of them will remain in Poland, others flown at the request of third countries will go elsewhere.