Home U.K Tragedy as pensioner, 73, dead after choking on steak sandwich in pub

Tragedy as pensioner, 73, dead after choking on steak sandwich in pub


Graham Douglas, 73, passed away at Arrowe Park Hospital, Wirral, in Merseyside, four days after choking at the Dinorben Arms in Bodfari, in Denbighshire, Wales. Members of the public joined staff in a desperate bid to help the retired instrument technician, but by the time paramedics dislodged the obstruction from his throat he had been unconscious for 30 minutes.

An inquest in Ruthin heard on Tuesday that Mr Douglas, of Summertrees Road, Great Sutton, was with 15 members of the Wirral branch of the Triumph Owners Club on the day of the incident. He died on November 14 last year.

In a statement read at the inquest, group member Colin Robertson said Mr Douglas had just started eating his steak sandwich when he suddenly started to choke.

Two fellow customers tried to perform the Heimlich manoeuvre but Mr Douglas lost consciousness.

An off-duty nurse carried out chest compressions until paramedics arrived.

Even though they managed to dislodge the piece of meat, Mr Douglas had been without oxygen for too long.

He was taken to Glan Clwyd Hospital and transferred to Arrowe Park later the same day.

The cause of death was given as hypoxic brain injury due to accidental choking.

In tribute, Mr Douglas’s brother Stuart told the inquest he enjoyed passing on his knowledge and expertise to riders as part of the North Wales Police Bikesafe scheme.


A public statement on the branch’s website said: “He was part of the furniture at Wirral branch, turning up towards closing time for a quick pint of cider and inevitably a few packets of crisps.

“His loyalty stands out in retrospect to our club and to the Triumph marque – in 40 years I have never seen him on anything other than a Triumph.

“We have lost a true character who will be very much missed.”

John Gittins, senior coroner for North Wales East and Central, recording a conclusion of accidental death, said all those who tried to help Mr Douglas were to be commended for their efforts.

The NHS advises that in cases of severe choking a person will not be able to speak, cry, cough or breathe and that without help they will become unconscious.

To carry out a back blow for adults and children over a year old, it advises standing behind the person and slightly to one side.

The NHS recommends then supporting the person’s chest with one hand, leaning them forward and giving five sharp blows between their shoulder blades with the heel of your hand.

If the blockage does not clear, then the NHS advises to give five abdominal thrusts.

Stand behind the person who’s choking, place your arms around their waist and bend them forward.

Clench one fist and place it right above their belly button then put the other hand on top of your fist and pull sharply inwards and upwards.

Repeat this movement up to five times. If back blows and abdominal thrusts fail to unblock the airway, call 999 and continue with back blows and abdominal thrusts till help arrives.

For more information visit the NHS website.

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