McDonald's customers 'stepped over man who was choking to death' to order food
Published 17/12/2015 | 17:12
McDonald's customers stepped over a disabled man as he choked to death on a lump of meat so they could get served, an inquest heard.
Mike Ore, who had spina bifida, collapsed when a ball of food blocked his oesophagus as he sat in his wheelchair in the Cheltenham restaurant.
CCTV footage revealed that it was three minutes before anybody went to the 47 year-old's assistance, Gloucestershire Coroner's Court was told.
One man who went to his aid told the inquest he saw several customers step over Mr Ore in order to get to the counter.
Customer Johnny Langden told the inquest: "I was standing in a queue at McDonald's with my family when I saw this man in a wheelchair clearly in distress.
"I and two ladies went to his assistance and tried to remove the food from his mouth, but he had turned purple in colour and I realised that he was dying.
"I could not believe it, but some customers stepped over his body to get to the counter."
Coroner David Dooley said nobody appeared to notice Mr Ore's condition at the High Street branch on July 8 "until it was too late".
He said: "The deceased has spina bifida, gout and alcohol problems.
"He was also a heavy smoker.
"A ball of food had lodged in his oesophagus and caused a blockage.
"A toxicology report revealed a high level of alcohol in his blood and urine and his lungs were congested."
He continued: "One of the effects of excessive alcohol can be a loss of co-ordination and an impairment of the swallowing reflex.
"Choking can result.
"The deceased had been drinking prior to visiting the restaurant and the alcohol could have inhibited the swallowing reflux.
"Unfortunately nobody appeared to notice his condition until it was too late."
The coroner concluded the death of Mr Ore, of Cheltenham, was accidental.