Several Cleveland-area residents face illness after consuming poisonous wild mushrooms

SHAKER HEIGHTS, Ohio -- Several people in the Cleveland-area have gotten sick after consuming the poisonous destroying angel mushroom.

Destroying angel mushrooms look like those big white decorative stones that you sometimes find in yards or damp grass.

However, when seen you should approach with caution. Unless you know what you're doing this, or any mushroom you find out in nature, could send you to the hospital.

Doctor Stanley Cohen is the Medical Director For Hepatology at University Hospitals.
He saidevery year between mid-September and late October they see quite a few people who have been poisoned by wild mushrooms that they thought were safe.

"I would be very cautious because right now we're in the poisonous mushroom season and you have to be very, very cautious and there's no guarantee what you're picking up could be very, very poisonous," said Cohen.

In particular the destroying angel mushroom, or Amanita,  pops up a lot this time of year.

"The ones that we're worried about -- the so called Amanita mushrooms -- can cause complete liver failure. We've had people need liver transplants. People have died from it. It's quoted that up to 30% of people can die from these mushroom poisonings," Cohen said.

Doctor Cohen warned that you can have toxic mushrooms growing with edible ones in the same conditions.

And, cooking doesn't change the their toxicity.

"Keep in mind that the poisons, the toxins from these things, are not killed by boiling or cooking them. A lot of people think 'this one may be bad, but if i cook it it's fine' and just so people know for the Amanita mushrooms that's not true," he explained.

Doctor Cohen said unless you've received training from someone who really knows what they're talking about, wild mushrooms need to be avoided, especially during the late fall when the Amanita are in bloom.