« BackInquest hears how 70-year-old Headford man choked on his dinner because of a lack of teeth

An inquest has heard how a 70-year-old Headford man choked on his dinner in his local day care centre because of a lack of teeth.

coroners court

Dermot Dennehy of Cools, Headford, Rathmore died in Teach Mhuire Day Care Centre, Rathmore on the 9th of March.

The inquest into his death came before the Coroner’s Court in Killarney yesterday, and heard that the local defibrillator was called to the scene but didn’t work.

Staff nurse at Teach Mhuire Day Care Centre, Rathmore, Irene O’Leary gave evidence of seeing 70-year-old Dermot Dennehy standing up suddenly while eating his lunch in the dining room, saying he appeared to be choking.

She and intern Michael O’Sullivan carried out the Heimlich manoeuvre and backslaps on him.

CPR was then performed, and the emergency services contacted.

The local AED or automated external defibrillator was called but it didn’t work.

The emergency services removed a piece of chicken from throat but Mr Dennehy was pronounced dead at the scene.

A post mortem carried out by Dr Margot Bolster at University Hospital Kerry concluded the cause of death was café coronary or impaction of food in the larynx, which results in sudden collapse and death.

The chicken lodged in Mr Dennehy’s upper airway had been the cause, but the poor condition of his teeth was seen as a factor – most of the teeth on his upper jaw most were gone, reducing his ability to chew.

The jury returned a verdict of accidental death.

Coroner Terence Casey said it was hard to believe that someone could have choked because of a lack of teeth for chewing.