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Disabled woman died after choking at Dover Castle

A disabled woman died after choking on food at a Kent tourist attraction, an inquest heard.

Alison Heselden was 55 when she died in hospital just over a week after accidentally choking at Dover Castle.

Alison Heselden died after choking at Dover Castle
Alison Heselden died after choking at Dover Castle

Ms Heselden, who used a wheelchair, had a number of disabilities including cerebal palsy and spina bifida.

The coroner’s court in County Hall, Maidstone, heard she had been visiting the castle with her disability group on March 22 when they stopped for lunch.

Ms Heselden had sausages, potatoes, carrots and gravy, and asked her carer for a drink.

While her carer returned with a hot chocolate, the group’s drivers noticed Ms Heselden had started coughing, with her lips turning blue.

When her condition worsened despite their attempts to help, they called 999 and began CPR.

“My condolences to Ms Heselden’s family for their sad loss...”

A critical care paramedic was on the scene in minutes, and was able to restart her heart after around 16 minutes of down time.

She was taken to the William Harvey Hospital, however her condition deteriorated upon arrival and she had to be intubated.

It was then found that she had suffered a hypoxic brain injury caused by the heart attack brought on by the choking.

Given her poor prognosis, a decision was made to make her comfortable, and she passed away on April 1.

Ruling her death an accident, area coroner Katrina Hepburn added: “My condolences to Ms Heselden’s family for their sad loss.”

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