A south Florida man who died after eating raw oysters last month had several drugs in his system, including fentanyl and cocaine, according to a medical medical examiner’s report.
Roger “Rocky” Pinckney also tested positive for cannabis, oxycodone, and opiates after his death on July 31, according to the Broward County Medical Examiner, WTVJ reported.
Along with the detection of the drugs, Pinckney’s blood tested positive for vibrio vulnificus, a bacteria found in warm seawater that can cause illness, the report said.
The 44-year-old was out celebrating his birthday on July 23 at the Rustic Inn Crabhouse in Fort Lauderdale, where he had worked several years ago. He was later hospitalized with a fever and abdominal pains after eating oysters at the popular eatery.
The manager of the restaurant told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported that as many as 100 dozen oysters were served the day Pinckney dined at the establishment.
“He had that one in a billion that was bad,” Gary Oreal reportedly said. “I feel horrible.”
An attorney representing Pinckney’s family, Brandon Cathy, told The Post Thursday he had not yet reviewed the medical examiner’s report.
He denied, however, that the restaurant had passed the Florida Department of Health inspection of the restaurant’s kitchen with “flying colors” — as Oreal had told local reporters. The inspection had taken place a week after Pinckney had eaten there, Cathy said.
“We don’t know what the conditions were on the day [Pinckney ate there], but it’s not a good sign,” he said.
Cathy said the Food and Drug Administration has tried to address the sale of summertime oysters from the Gulf of Mexico because they know how deadly vibrio vulnificus can be, but their efforts have been thwarted by the oyster lobby.
“It’s sort of like on a historic level, like one of the more evil things that’s going on in the country,” he said. “I’ve got an interest in the sale of these raw oysters in the summer at this point.”
Cathy previously represented a Florida couple who was awarded $6.7 million in 2018 after a restaurant served them oysters that caused food poisoning and led to a rare disorder for one of them that could have ended in paralysis.
The attorney said he has not yet taken any legal action in Pinckney’s case as they wait for a family member to be appointed representative of his estate.
Pinckney is the second person in Florida to die from vibrio vulnificus this summer.
Rodney Jackson, a business director at the Studer Community Institute in Pensacola, died on Aug. 9 after he became ill after eating oysters he’d purchased at Maria’s Fresh Seafood Market, The Pensacola News Journal reported.
Both cases reportedly involved oysters sourced from Louisiana.
The Centers for Control Disease and Prevention warns on its website that while most Vibriosis cases occur in hotter weather, cases have been reported throughout the year.
“An oyster that contains harmful bacteria doesn’t look, smell, or even taste different from any other oyster,” the CDC says.
The agency said about 80,000 people nationwide get infected with vibrio every year with 100 of them dying from the infection. Most infections only result in diarrhea and vomiting, according to the agency.