Saturday, 30 September 2023, 09:03
A 42-year-old man has died in Malaga after choking on a piece of meat while eating at a barbecue in the Peñón del Cuervo beach and recreational area to the east of the city. Although health workers managed to revive him at the scene, the victim was admitted in critical condition to the Regional Hospital but later died.
The incident happened on 23 September, at around eight o'clock in the evening, in the barbecue area of Peñón del Cuervo. The emergency services received a call alerting them to a man showing signs of choking.
Two Local Police officers arrived at the scene and, with the help of a medical technician who was already on the scene, began to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) on the man. A few minutes later, two ambulances arrived.
The medical staff were able to recover the patient and get his pulse back so that he could be transferred to the Regional Hospital in Malaga. He was admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU) in a critical condition, but he later died due to complications from choking and lack of oxygen.
This is the second similar case in Spain in recent days. On 20 September, a 78-year-old man also died after choking on a piece of meat while eating at a bar in the Madrid town of Villanueva del Pardillo.
To begin with, we must focus on the signs: this is the first step 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 probably choking.
According to the Civil Protection organisation in its First Aid Guide, if there are several people present, the ideal thing to do is for one of those present to call 112 as soon as possible while another person attends to the victim.
First of all, if they are able, tell them to cough. If they cannot or are too weak but conscious, you should 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 him five blows on the back, between the shoulder blades, checking after each blow to see if the foreign body has been expelled so as not to continue this action unnecessarily.
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. They should then proceed 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 cleared.
If after performing these two actions, the back blows and the Heimlich manoeuvre, the victim does not overcome the choking, they should be alternated - five back blows and five abdominal thrusts - until the obstruction is cleared or until the victim loses consciousness. 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 people do not know what to do, during the call to the 112 emergency service telephone number a health professional can give instructions via telecare so that the affected person can be correctly assisted while waiting for an ambulance to arrive at the scene.
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