Man dies after eating a fishcake that was so hot he couldn't breathe

Man dies after eating a fishcake that was so hot he couldn't breathe

A 51-year-old wedding planner has tragically passed away after eating a fishcake that was so hot it caused his throat to swell shut, the Telegraph has reported. 

Darren Hickey died just 12 hours after being given a piece of the starter to sample by a chef at a wedding venue on April 4th. In an inquest into his death, the coroner who worked on the case has said that Mr Hickey’s passing raises serious questions about the hospital which chose to send him home with paracetamol after he came in for treatment in the aftermath of the incident. 

According to Alan Walsh, acting senior coroner on the case, part of the problem was that the swelling was so far down Mr Hickey’s throat that it would have been difficult to see without conducting a specialist procedure. After recording a verdict of accidental death, Ward said, “I believe there are enormous lessons to be learned. This was caused by eating a fishcake, very small and very hot but with catastrophic consequences. I find this an immense tragedy.”

Mr Hickey’s partner, Neil Parkinson, told the court that he had returned home after visiting the hospital to get some rest, but the swelling continued to worsen. Some time after he had arrived back, Mr Parkinson found Mr Hickey choking on the floor. As he explained, “I banged his back but then he slid forward onto the floor.”

Despite being rushed back to hospital, it was too late to save him. 

Fishcakes. Credit: PA Images

Unsurprisingly, incidents such as this are extremely unusual. However, according to Patrick Waugh, the pathologist who performed the post mortem examination, this type of swelling is not unheard of, and typically occurs in patients who have breathed in smoke from fires. As he put it: "The patient can appear well, they will be talking to you, but then the swelling starts."

Ultimately, Mr Hickey’s cause of death was ruled as "asphyxiation" due to swelling. The court also heard how the wedding planner had suffered a "catastrophic" stroke seven years earlier that made walking and speech difficult. As a result, he channelled much of his energy into charity work and was given a "courage award: by the Stroke Association.