A popular dad died after choking on steak at a restaurant, an inquest has heard.

Mark Higham had been having a romantic meal with his wife Lynne, on the evening of August 27, 2020, Bolton Coroner’s Courtheard. 

Mrs Higham told the court that he ordered steak and had eaten between three and four mouthfuls, before starting to choke.

She took Mr Higham, 60, to the bathroom of the restaurant, slapped him on the back, and did a finger sweep of his mouth to try and free the blocked food.

Mrs Higham also said she tried to perform the Heimlich Manoeuvre but unfortunately was not ‘strong enough’.

After calling for help, various members of staff at at Gallimore’s Fine Restaurant, in Wigan, tried to assist Mrs Higham by slapping her husband’s back and eventually giving him CPR. 

Paramedic Lee Hardman arrived at the scene at around 9.18pm.

He told the court that he was satisfied with the CPR that was already being given to Mr Higham by a member of restaurant staff, so he tried to find the piece of food that had got stuck.

He said that he had brought Magill forceps with him, which are used to remove foreign bodies from people’s throats.

However, Mr Hardman said he couldn’t see anything stuck.

Mr Higham entered into cardiac arrest and was taken to the Royal Albert Edward Infirmary, where he was pronounced dead a few hours later. 

Dr Rafat Saad, the lead clinician in intensive care, said that he managed to remove a small piece of food from Mr Higham’s windpipe, which would have been too far down to have been seen by Mr Hardman.

Pathologist Dr Emil Salmo carried out a post-mortem and confirmed the cause of death was ‘choking on food’.

Earlier in the hearing, Mrs Higham told the court that her husband had suffered a number of strokes, including a major one in 2017, and had Parkinson’s disease.

Dr Salmo told the court that people with Parkinson’s disease can be ‘susceptible’ to choking.

The previous strokes and Mr Higham’s condition were recorded as a contributory factor towards his death.

John Gallimore, the owner of Gallimore’s Fine Restaurant, said 12 members of staff had completed a first aid course provided by professional physiotherapist Russell Hitchen.

Assistant coroner for Manchester West, Simon Nelson, recorded a conclusion of accidental death.

By editor2