A woman with “locked-in syndrome” choked to death after trying to emulate a challenge she had seen on the TV series Love Island , a coroner heard.
Mia Louise Austin, who inspired thousands of people after suffering a stroke which left her unable to move or speak, had watched the ITV series last summer when contestants had tried to see how many marshmallows they could put in their mouths.
The 30-year-old, from Bebington in Merseyside, was only able to communicate by using a computer tracking her eye movements, and could swallow but only ate soft food.
hile on holiday at the Warren Holiday Park in Abersoch on June 26th this year, she indicated to her mum Carol Ann Austin and a carer that she wanted to buy a packet of marshmallows.
She later had one placed in her mouth, but choked on the sweet and became unconscious and died at the scene, despite the efforts of those with her in the chalet, park staff and paramedics.
Pathologist Dr Mohammed Aslam said death was due to asphyxia with her condition noted as a contributory factor.
Mrs Austin told the inquest at Caernarfon that, after her daughter’s stroke, she was fed a liquid diet but had progressed to eating soft food over the years.
She said there had been previous choking incidents, including another at the holiday park when she choked on a burger.
Paramedics had been called on each occasion and the family had been given suction equipment to assist.
Mrs Austin said consultants had warned the family to be careful while her daughter was eating.
Recording a verdict of accidental death, North Wales senior coroner Dewi Pritchard Jones said the stroke had taken away Ms Austin’s ability to cough or bring up anything that would cause choking.
“She wanted some marshmallows and one was later put in her mouth,” he said.
“This caused a blockage in her airway and, as she was unable to bring it up, it caused asphyxiation.”
During the inquest, the coroner heard Ms Austin suffered a stroke 10 years ago despite being perfectly healthy.
Her parents were told the stroke would prove fatal, but she defied the odds and survived, travelling around the world and writing a book about her life story using just her eyes.
She died just two days before she was named Merseyside Woman of 2019 for her charity work and had been excited at the prospect of attending the ceremony, the inquest heard.