In the first of its kind of death, a man died in Delhi due to suffocation caused by improperly eating momos. A 50-year-old man, who was in a drunken state, was brought dead to AIIMS from south Delhi. Police investigations revealed that he suddenly fell to the ground while he was having food at eateries.
The popular junk food was identified as the reason for death when the post-mortem report of the deceased person came up. An examination of the CT scan during the postmortem revealed that something was stuck at the beginning of his upper trachea or windpipe. From this, the doctors concluded that his death was due to suffocation after consuming momos. The size of the momos that stuck in his throat was 5×3 cm.
The report has been published in the latest edition of the Journal of Forensic Imaging. According to a report by Mint, the head of the forensic department of AIIMS, Dr Sudhir Gupta said, “These findings are very important for medicolegal opinion but could be only done by digital coaxial tomography (CT scan). It can’t be detected in traditional visual postmortem examination.”
Experts at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi, have cautioned to be careful while eating food after a rare case of a person dying due to suffocation after having momos came to light. Forensic experts from AIIMS said, “Momos are popular street food. Its surface is slippery and soft, so swallowing it without chewing properly can even lead to suffocation or death of the person.”
Choking is a medical term for an obstruction in the airway that occurs between the pharynx and the bifurcation of the trachea. When a person eats anything that is too large to enter the oesophagus, and when it accidentally moves into the trachea, it can remain in the posterior hypopharynx (the lower part of the tube that leads to the oesophagus and trachea). As a result, the respiratory tract is blocked and it causes suffocation.
Dr Abhishek Yadav, additional professor of the forensic department, AIIMS, said, “Steamy momos are one of the favourite street foods in Delhi. The surface of the momos is slippery and soft, which can be fatal if swallowed without being chewed properly. In this case, the cause of death was neurogenic cardiac arrest, which was caused by suffocation after consuming momos.”
He added, “Momos are 5×3 cm in size, which is very large and people should be aware of eating this kind of food. Whenever such incidents occur, attendees are required to immediately perform the Heimlich manoeuvre – a first-aid procedure in which a sudden sharp pressure is applied to the abdomen between the navel and the ribs to remove blockages in a person’s trachea. This is done until this food comes out of the mouth.”