Did fluoride toothpaste poison mental patient?

A coroner's investigation into the death of an Australian mental patient is trying to determine if fluoride poisoning was a contributing factor to her demise at Wollongong Hospital in New South Wales.

Her heart failed while being restrained for aggressive behavior and she had been vomiting a "clear or milky substance" earlier in the day, according to an article in the Illawarra Mercury.

Expert testimony in court suggested that burns on the woman's face and chest and the condition of her esophagus resulted from her consuming a caustic substance such as a hospital cleaning product.

The possibility of significant toothpaste consumption resulting in fluoride combining with stomach acid to create hydrofluoric acid was also put forth as a possible cause of the burns, although the experts testifying stated that they weren't sure how much toothpaste would be required for such a reaction.

One witness has testified that patient records for the woman have been altered posthumously; the records will also be investigated by the coroner.

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