A heartbroken son has told how his mother looked at him and held his hand as she choked on a piece of meat.

Patrick O’Donnell Junior fought back tears as he told of the final minutes of his mum Bridie’s life.

Mr O’Donnell told the inquest at Letterkenny Courthouse in Co Donegal that on June 8th last year he was having dinner with his mother and father Patrick Snr at their home at Cloghan in Co Donegal.

During the dinner just after 3pm, Patrick told how he heard a “rumbling” noise from his mother, who was aged 59, as they ate some spicy chops and vegetables.

She turned to him with her hand on her chest and then went over to the sink in the kitchen.

Mr O’Donnell told how she took a drink of water but was still choking and then moved to the bathroom.

Mr O’Donnell followed her and he noticed her face was turning a different colour and she looked at him and held his hand.

She fell backwards onto the bathroom floor and the court was told that Mr O’Donnell called the ambulance and was given instructions.

He tried CPR while the ambulance arrived a half an hour later.

Dr Gerry Lane, a consultant at Letterkenny University Hospital, arrived with the ambulance and pronounced Ms O’Donnel dead.

A post mortem on Ms O’Donnell later found that Mrs O’Donnell still had food in her throat despite the best efforts of everyone to resuscitate her.

Coroner Dr Denis McCauley said he had never before seen a case of choking where the food was still stuck in the throat.

He commended Mr O’Donnell Jnr for trying to save his mother but assured him that there was nothing he could have done to prevent her death.

He told me O’Donnell “I know you may have felt helpless and feel you could have done more but I think this was impossible.”

He said death was due to choking and returned a verdict of accidental death.



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