BELLINGHAM - Last month, David Westerlund pulled from his garden what he thought was a carrot. He chopped it all up - from the leaves to the root - threw it into a jar with cabbage, garlic, ginger, onions, sea salt and whey to ferment, then waited six days to eat a bowl of it.
Two hours after his meal, the 35-year-old Bellingham man was in the emergency room because he ate what turned out to be poison hemlock.
He has recovered since that April 25 trip to the hospital, but his isn't the only such instance of mistaken identity in Washington state.
Four other known cases of people eating or being exposed to poison hemlock already have been reported for the year as of April, with one of them, a Tacoma woman, dying after eating a salad that contained what medical investigators believe was poison hemlock.
If tests confirm that poison hemlock caused her death on April 1, it would be the first such fatality in the state since 1999, according to the Washington Poison Center.
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