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Can choking be the cause of death?

Q: My 23 years old female friend died of choking while eating dosa three years back. She had a weak cough and fainted suddenly. Her parents could not understand what to do. When she was taken to hospital within 10 min after she was unconscious the doctors declared her dead. They say that the x-ray report of her lungs revealed some food particles. She had no physical disorders but a few weeks before she choked she was hospitalised for a day as, she was weak (may be low blood pressure). Can someone die because of choking?

A:I am sorry to hear about your friend. Aspiration and choking are well-recognised causes of low oxygen and obstruction of the breathing tubes causing death. Some of these are preventable if the airway can be cleared of the foreign body (like food) by first aid techniques like the Heimlich maneuver. Having a weak cough is probably why the food could not be coughed out which is a normal protective reflex. If the oxygen is low, the heart also gets affected and the blood pressure can go down and fainting occurs.


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