It could have happened to Van Gogh: a case of fatal purple foxglove poisoning and review of the literature

Eur J Emerg Med. 2007 Dec;14(6):356-9. doi: 10.1097/MEJ.0b013e3280bef8dc.


Although death owing to the toxic effects of the therapeutic Digitalis lanata extract, digoxin has been reported, there are no reported cases of fatal Digitalis purpurea (digitoxin) plant intoxication in humans in the literature. We describe a case of ingestion of Digitalis purpurea in a 64-year-old man, which was fatal despite administration of Digibind. A review of the literature and aspects of management of plant digitalis poisoning are discussed.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Atropine / therapeutic use
  • Cardiac Pacing, Artificial
  • Charcoal / therapeutic use
  • Digitalis / poisoning*
  • Digoxin / blood
  • Famous Persons
  • Fatal Outcome
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin Fab Fragments / therapeutic use
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Plant Poisoning / diagnosis*
  • Plant Poisoning / drug therapy
  • Suicide*


  • Immunoglobulin Fab Fragments
  • digoxin antibodies Fab fragments
  • Charcoal
  • Digoxin
  • Atropine