Autopsy Results End the Crab/PSP Scare

By , August 3, 2010

Perhaps the biggest news in Haines this summer was the sudden death of a local man attributed to Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning (PSP) from eating crab. The official autopsy results show that he actually perished from heart disease.

I won’t editorialize on the tragic misdiagnosis that led the man to decide to leave the hospital instead of staying, and possibly surviving, had physicians gone further than the initial conclusion. We’re very glad that the issue has been clarified. Both Michelle and I sheepishly admitted that we’d been much less enthusiastic about crabbing this summer, despite knowing full well that, even if local crab had been infested with PSP algae, it’s not likely we’d encounter any.

Obviously, there’s been a lot of concern about how the mistaken belief that PSP was a factor might adversely affect the local fishery. However, I suspect that the news barely made it out of the state. This blog is ostensibly for my friends and family down south, yet in all the time this story has played out, none of them have mentioned it, or asked us if we’re avoiding eating crab. Many of these people live in the Seattle area and elsewhere in the Pacific Northwest, a region that seems to take at least a passing interest in Alaskan news now and then. I get the feeling that this is another instance when events of dire consequence to us go completely unnoticed by the world at large. As usual, I’m not quite sure how I feel about that.

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