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Ilkley man choked on piece of ham
1:53pm Thursday 31st October 2013 in Local news
A coroner has recorded a verdict of accidental death in the case of an Ilkley man who died after choking on undigested food.
Hugh Little, 63, of Beverley Rise, Ilkley, was declared dead at his home September 26, despite the efforts of paramedics to save him.
His wife, Linda, raised the alarm when she found him slumped on the bedroom floor one evening after a meal. She dialled 999, and her and a neighbour followed advice on trying to revive him while they waited for the ambulance to arrive.
Paramedics tried in vain for 20 minutes to save his life.
An inquest at Bradford Coroner’s Court on Friday heard they found his airways blocked by undigested food, and removed a large piece of chewed ham.
Mr Little, a former clerical assistant, suffered several medical conditions, including anxiety, which had increased significantly in recent years.
He had recently been diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome which was thought to have contributed to his anxiety.
He would often rush his meals so he could return to his bedroom where he felt safe and comfortable, the inquest heard.
Mr Little was hospitalised for a small blood clot on the lung in June, but this was not linked to his death.
The inquest heard Mr Little often ate part of a meal, went back to his bedroom, then returned to eat more of the meal.
On the evening of September 26, Mrs Little prepared a ham salad for both her and her husband, and left his for him in the kitchen.
A statement from Mrs Little said her husband was anxious and had been feeling dizzy.
Later in the evening, she heard a loud thud and went up to his room, where she found him sitting on the floor, looking very ill and not breathing.
No food blockage was found in a subsequent post-mortem examination, but a consultant histiologist concluded the cause of Mr Little’s death was respiratory arrest due to the aspiration of a food bolus.
Assistant Coroner West Yorkshire (Western), Mary Burke, said: “He did not fully digest the food he had consumed, this blocked his airways and resulted in his sudden respiratory arrest.
“I’m satisfied that this was an unintentional event.”
Mr and Mrs Little had been about to celebrate their 39th wedding anniversary when the tragedy happened.