A Dad age 41 died after choking on a “large lump of meat” as he cooked dinner at home, an inquest has heard. Florin Lungu was from Romania but lived in Epsom, where he worked at a car wash.
The 41-year-old lived in shared accommodation with his wife, Carmen. Mr Lungu died two weeks after he was admitted to hospital after choking on food he was eating while cooking, the court heard.
Conflicting evidence was heard though, with different witnesses referring to the meat Mr Lungu choked on as chicken, lamb and steak throughout the day’s proceedings.
The inquest also looked into whether Mr Lungu had been involved in an assault prior to his death, and witnesses gave opposing evidence on whether Mr Lungu had teeth missing before he choked.
But Surrey assistant coroner Anna Crawford said she found it “unlikely” Mr Lungu lost any teeth due to the incident.
Mrs Lungu told the inquest there was blood on her husband’s pillow and bed sheet following the choking incident, and this concerned her as she had recently provided him with clean ones.
But Ms Crawford was unable to make a finding due to conflicting evidence.
She said: “I find it is more likely than not that he choked in the kitchen of the address. On the basis of the evidence I have heard it is not possible to establish how blood came to be on the sheets or his pillow.
“However, I am satisfied that it is unlikely that the blood came to be there during or as a result of the choking incident.”
Nicola Sykes, South East Coast Ambulance Service operational team leader, was first at the scene.
She said: “There were two other people there, one performing CPR on Mr Lungu, so straight away I put my bags down and was trying to gather information.
“Nobody could tell me what happened. Whether there was a language barrier or they did not know, I don’t know.”
After suctioning water from his throat, Ms Sykes said she was still unable to “get a good seal” with the oxygen mask. Moments later it was realised there was food lodged in his throat, blocking his airways.
She said: “I was pulling chunks of meat out of his throat, it was quite low down.
“Initially there was water and fluid, then once that had cleared we looked further. On pulling it out, it was meat. I remember asking all the time the bystanders what had happened but nobody could confirm he had been choking. A little while later I saw a board with meat on it.
“I removed a lot of meat. When I was pulling it out it was bits initially, the last bit I got quite a large lump of meat out of the throat. We were then able to get oxygen to him.”
Mr Lungu was in a state of cardiac arrest between just before 6pm and after 6.30pm. After chest compressions and assistance of a shock, he began breathing again and was taken away by ambulance in an unconscious state.
But on October 19, Mr Lungu died in St George’s Hospital, Tooting, with his wife by his side, the court heard.
Ms Crawford officially recorded a conclusion of “accident”.