Sidmouth pensioner died after choking on egg roll, inquest hears

PUBLISHED: 15:29 31 January 2017 | UPDATED: 15:30 31 January 2017

The inquest was heard at County Hall in Exeter. Picture: Terry Ife

The inquest was heard at County Hall in Exeter. Picture: Terry Ife


Retired security officer was rendered unable to swallow due to his advanced Parkinson’s

A pensioner died in his Sidmouth home after choking on an egg roll, an inquest heard.

Michael Bullman, 78, had been eating lunch made by his wife just after 1pm on July 19 last year, when he became unable to swallow and subsequently breathe. He died before paramedics arrived.

A hearing at County Hall, Exeter, heard from his GP that Mr Bullman was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2003 and prostate cancer in 2009 and suffered with rapidly deteriorating health.

The retired security officer was looked after by his wife, Ann, in their Coulsdon Road home, with help from daily carers.

Assistant coroner Luisa Nicholson recorded a verdict of accidental death caused by asphyxiation due to food inhalation and Parkinson’s – which can hinder the ability to swallow.

In a statement, Mrs Bullman said: “My husband’s Parkinson’s was taking over and his health was quickly deteriorating.

“Carers came to the house every day, but I also had to help with everything, including washing and dressing. Michael did not enjoy food or have much appetite because he found eating difficult due to the Parkinson’s. I crushed up his food in an effort to make him eat.”

Mrs Bullman described making her husband an egg roll and then going back into the kitchen to fetch her own lunch, when she heard him make a coughing noise. She recalled him being unable to swallow a bit of the roll and said it was ‘as if the muscles were not working at all’.

Mrs Bullman called an ambulance and was told to get her husband on the floor. She added that paramedics arrived quickly, but it was already too late.

The inquest heard an ambulance report that stated there were no signs of life from Mr Bullman when they arrived at Coulsdon Road and resuscitation was not attempted due to his advanced Parkinson’s.

PC Darius Norton also gave evidence as he attended the scene on July 19, and confirmed he was satisfied there had been no third party involvement.

Recording a conclusion of accidental death, Ms Nicholson said: “He was at home eating an egg roll when he was unable to swallow and subsequently unable to breathe because of the food obstruction.”

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