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Man chokes to death on piece of meat at Malaga restaurant
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Man chokes to death on piece of meat at Malaga restaurant

The 46-year-old was having lunch with his father when he began to have trouble breathing

Juan Cano

Malaga

Thursday, 28 March 2024, 09:48

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A man has died after he choked to death on a piece of meat while having lunch with his father in a Malaga restaurant. The 46-year-old started to feel short of breath during his meal at the Restaurante Richard on Calle Andarax, in the Cruz del Humilladero area of Malaga city.

Sources said the man started to choke after putting a piece of meat in his mouth, which presumably blocked his airway. However, an autopsy will confirm the exact cause of death. A doctor, who was among the diners in the restaurant when the incident occurred, rushed to perform the Heimlich manoeuvre on the man but he died at the scene.

National Police officers have taken over the investigation and said everything pointed to choking on food as the cause of the local man's death.

Last September, a 42-year-old man also died in Malaga city after choking - again on a piece of meat - during a barbecue with family and friends in the Peñón del Cuervo area. In the same month, a 78-year-old man died when he choked while having dinner in a restaurant in the Madrid town of Villanueva del Pardillo. He was also eating a piece of meat.

What to do in case of choking

The first step is to pay careful attention to the victim's symptoms in order to be able to react in time (every second counts). If someone holds their hands to their neck, cannot speak, turns a bluish colour or spits out of their mouth, they are likely choking.

In such an event you must act very quickly. According to Spain's Civil Protection group's first aid guide, if there are several people present, the ideal thing to do is for one of those people to call 112 as quickly as possible while another person attends to the victim.

If the victim is able to, tell them to cough. If they cannot or have no strength and are conscious, start abdominal thrusts. To do this, stand beside the victim and slightly behind them, hold their chest with one hand and lean forward, then give them five blows on the back, between the shoulder blades, checking after each blow to see if the victim has coughed up whatever they were choking on.

If the situation has not been resolved, the Heimlich manoeuvre should be performed. To perform this the person providing assistance should stand behind the victim and embrace him or her, placing the fist of one hand with the thumb outwards at the midpoint between the navel and the pit of the stomach, with the other hand on top. He or she then proceeds to tilt the victim forward and perform five inward and upward thrusts, with sufficient force to lift the victim off the floor, until the obstruction is coughed up.

If after performing these two actions, the victim does not overcome the choking, they should be alternated - five back blows and five abdominal thrusts - until the unblocking is achieved or until the victim falls unconscious. A timely reaction on the part of the first responders can prevent the situation from worsening and the victim suffering cardiorespiratory arrest.

Specialists point out what not to do, such as giving food or water to the affected person, as both actions can make the situation worse rather than better. However, in the event that it is not known how to act, during the call to the emergency service a doctor can give instructions via the telephone so the affected person can be correctly assisted until an ambulance crew arrives at the scene.

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