Local News in Brief : 2 Critical After Poisoning

A couple forced to undergo liver transplants after picking and eating poisonous mushrooms on New Year's Day remained in critical condition Monday.

Wilhelm Winter, 45, and his dining companion, 19-year-old Cynthia Zheng, both of Oakland, ate Death Cap mushrooms they picked in Marin County north of Point Reyes Station, mistaking the fungi for an edible type.

Zheng underwent a liver transplant Wednesday. Winter's surgery began Saturday and ended Sunday. Both were in critical condition at the UCLA Medical Center in Westwood, hospital spokesman Mike Byrne said.

The mushrooms were identified as amanita phalloides, one of a group of toadstools containing a toxin that kills liver and kidney cells.

They were flown to UCLA because the medical center specializes in performing the delicate liver-transplant surgery.

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