An eating competition in a school in Busia county to mark the closing day turned tragic after a 16-year-old boy choked to death on a piece of bread.
When the buzzer sounded, Harrison Oduor Ouma did what any other person in an eating contest would do — he started shoveling food into his mouth as quickly as possible. In this case, the food was toasts of bread and soda.
But tragedy struck when the class eight pupil at Sikura Primary School choked on a piece of bread that stuck in his throat and fell he unconscious.
Efforts by teachers and fellow pupils to administer first aid did not bear any fruit and he succumbed on the way to hospital.
“He was choked by the piece of bread that stuck in his throat and fell unconscious and failed to respond to first aid assistance from teachers and fellow pupils. The school management rushed him to hospital but he was pronounced dead on arrival at Buluani dispensary, a few meters away from the school,” said Butula sub-county police chief Jacob Chelimo.
Mr Chelimo said that the incident was reported by the school head teacher Mr Peter Tetela.
A medical expert who spoke to the Nation said bread falls in the list of foods that can easily choke because flour turns into a thick glob of paste when they come into contact with saliva or other liquids.
“The paste turns into concrete obstructing the airway if not properly swallowed. This deprives the brain of proper oxygen supply leading to death,” said Dr Donald Musi of Yatta Plateau clinics.
According to the medic, it is critically important for education institutions to understand that once a person’s airway is obstructed by a glob of macerated toast, rescue becomes exponentially difficult.
"Certain foods are safer than others and a little forethought can save lives," he said.
The body of the deceased, according to the police, was moved to Sega private mortuary to await postmortem.