Drugged up: Florida man who died after eating raw oysters had fentanyl, cocaine in system, medic says

A South Florida man named Roger “Rocky” Pinckney, who tragically passed away from a bacterial infection after consuming raw oysters, also had fentanyl and cocaine in his system at the time of death, according to the medical examiner.

(Video Credit: WSVN-TV)

Pinckney, 44, who was a boxer and the father of two, also tested positive for cannabis, oxycodone, and opiates according to the Broward County Medical Examiner. He died on July 31, WTVJ reported.

Pinckney also tested positive for vibrio vulnificus, which is a bacteria found in warm seawater that can cause illness, the report contended.

He had been out celebrating his daughter Jaelyn’s 18th birthday on July 21 at the Rustic Inn Crabhouse in Fort Lauderdale. The father had worked there several years before. When his daughter called him two days later, he reportedly told her he was very ill and could not move. Pinckney was hospitalized with a fever and extreme abdominal pain and began “experiencing necrotizing fasciitis due to the bacteria.” He never left the hospital.

The incident is evidently very rare. The South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported that as many as 100 dozen oysters were served the day Pinckney ate at the restaurant.

“He had that one in a billion that was bad,” the manager Gary Oreal reportedly told WTVJ. “I feel horrible.”

“Over the course of 60 years, we have served a couple billion oysters, and we never had anyone get sick like this guy did,” the manager recounted. “Oysters are top of the mountain for dangerous foods to eat. I have eaten them my entire life, and will continue. But you are putting yourself at risk when you do it.”

Brandon Cathey, the attorney representing Pinckney’s family, has yet to review the medical examiner’s report but contends that the restaurant did not pass the Florida Department of Health inspection of its kitchen with “flying colors” as Oreal told local reporters. The inspection took place a week after Pinckney ate there.

“We don’t know what the conditions were on the day [Pinckney ate there], but it’s not a good sign,” he asserted.

The attorney went on to state that the Food and Drug Administration attempted to address the sale of summertime oysters from the Gulf of Mexico because of the deadly vibrio vulnificus bacteria. He claims the oyster lobby prevented it.

“It’s sort of like on a historic level, like one of the more evil things that’s going on in the country,” Cathey said. “I’ve got an interest in the sale of these raw oysters in the summer at this point.”

This isn’t the first oyster case that Cathey has taken on. He previously represented a Florida couple who won $6.7 million in 2018 after they were served oysters that caused food poisoning. It reportedly led to a rare disorder in one of them that could have ended in paralysis.

No legal action has been taken yet because a family member has to be appointed representative of Pinckney’s estate. He is the second person to die from the bacterial infection this summer and both deaths involved oysters from Louisiana.

Rodney Jackson, who was a business director at the Studer Community Institute in Pensacola, passed away on Aug. 9 after he fell ill following his eating oysters that were purchased at Maria’s Fresh Seafood Market, the Pensacola News Journal reported.

“An oyster that contains harmful bacteria doesn’t look, smell, or even taste different from any other oyster,” the CDC states on its website, noting that although the bacteria is most prominent in hotter weather, it can occur anytime.

Almost 80,000 people nationwide get infected with vibrio every year with 100 of them dying from the infection, according to the CDC. Most infections only result in diarrhea and vomiting. The best way to avoid getting sick is to cook oysters properly and not eat them raw.

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