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  • Palytoxin almost kills local reefer

    Tommy (Tcat3rd) Almost died Wednesday evening after being exposed to the deadly Palytoxin from zoanthids left over night in a bucket. The zoo's were have dead from leaving them over night in a bucket so he decided to clean the rocks off in his utility tub with hot water and scrubbing them. He was full aware of the danger of the toxin, he used eye protection and full length gloves to clean the rocks. What he didn't protect was his lungs, the hot water and steam from the water made the toxin airborne. After 20 minutes of cleaning the rocks he went up stairs, feeling sick to his stomach. after another half hour passed he was ready to head to the emergency room but before he left he printed out articles on the toxin to take with him. In the waiting room he became almost paralyzed and started to cough up blood, his lungs were filling up with blood as well. The Dr's treated him with everything the could think of and were getting results, they called in the priest for last rights that evening and didn't think he'd make it through the night. Thursday morning they continued massive treat of antibiotics and steroids with little improvement. Today he's on his way back from his death bed and will be in the hospital for days to run tests and monitor his progress. We wanted me to post up to let everyone know and to remind them the dangers of our tanks. Thoughts and prayers go out to Tommy and his family, which also got sick from the toxin just not as bad as Tommy did being in closer range to the steam.

  • #2
    There's a reason the Hawaiians called them Limu Make O Hana (Seaweed of Death from Hana).

    Good luck on the recovery, Tommy.


    • #3
      Best wishes to him and his family during the recovery


      • #4
        Wish him the best for a speedy recovery. Just goes to show you when you think your being safe something like this happens. I think its time I step up the precautions I use when fooling with the tank from now on. I don't know how many times I've just gone into the tank with no protection. I think that's going to change after hearing this. I hope he's better soon.


        • #5
          This is so terrible to hear what happened to tommy. He is the nicest guy and can't believe something of this nature happened to him. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family tommy. Hang in there buddy! I wish you a speedy recovery and hope something like this never happens again! This is a for sure wake up call to everyone in the hobby and I'll try and be more careful when handling corals! I'm shocked to be reading this!! You're such a great guy man, take care.


          • #6
            Tommy, I am sorry to be reading this. I hope you and your family are well.


            • #7
              Thanks Eric

              I saw that several people said they would be changing their protocol when handling corals. That is the reason I asked for your help in posting.

              Thanks to the rest for the kind words.

              Still in ICUs and a lot of blood coagulating in my lungs but fevers and chills are gone. Definitely feeling better, but very week and don't even have enough breath to blow my nose. That kinda freaked me out this morning when the respitory therapist gave me treatment. They art noy sure how much permanent damage I have done to my lungs and body cells in general. This can affect every cell in your body.

              Hopefully I will get out of icu tomorrow baring another setback, and then transfer to a regular bed for a a few more days according to my doc. My family are doing better but my wife has missed a few days work and is still sick. My wife daughter and son were in the room above me and all three were sick with bad chills and fevers the first night and the were in the dining ABOVE the slop sink in the basement where I was!!!

              Oh ya do not forget that scientist studying paly toxin have found that the toxin has been found in other nearby corals that do not produce it on their own, so that other coral you got from someone else may also be toxic!

              Again thanks for the kind words, I don't deserve most of them,lol.



              • #8
                Oh no that sounds really bad. I am praying for him and will share this thread to hopefully help create awareness


                • #9
                  Sorry to here this Tommy, hope ya get better soon. Let me know if u need help with your tank at home.


                  • #10

                    Thanks all. We in the hobby are all aware of this yet you hear over and over long term reefers about doing everything with no gloves. You here "ya, after fraggings zoos for an hour my finger tips were a little numb". You never know when you might scratch your finger like jeff did a few years ago And it got really infected. He may have gotten toxin in it and died. Really serious.

                    Don, thanks for the offer, I just may take you up on that. Seems like my boy has it under control but anything can happen while I'm gone, I'll give him your number. You have been a really good reeffing friend since me and Vic met you at our first c-sea meeting 3 years ago, still have those Midas golds!!

                    Keith,that was your son that just graduated from Paris island right? Hope all is well with him. Keep us updated on his travels.

                    Gotta got my meds and crash, sure wish I was home

                    Peace tommy


                    • #11
                      Prayers for you Tommy as well as your family. Hope you get well soon and have no real lasting effects.



                      • #12
                        Sorry to hear about this, get well soon, you and your family are in our thoughts and prayers


                        • #13
                          I'm very sorry that this happened, especially considering te precautions that were taken. It's a blessing that you are ok and I hope you recover quickly.


                          • #14
                            Hey! Zach where have u been! Tommy was a lucky man and this should bring some awareness to all of us on coral practice!


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by chefzif View Post
                              Hey! Zach where have u been! Tommy was a lucky man and this should bring some awareness to all of us on coral practice!
                              Hey Chef, I miss you and the rest of the guys!

                              Maybe these are something to look into? I have to wear them daily at work.