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Man died of heart attack after choking on piece of steak at TGI Fridays

The tragedy unfolded at TGI Friday’s on Fleet Street, Temple Bar, Dublin 2
The tragedy unfolded at TGI Friday’s on Fleet Street, Temple Bar, Dublin 2

A fifty year old man choked on a piece of steak while dining at TGI Friday’s in Dublin, an inquest heard.

Gerard (Shane) Cribbin had recently returned to Ireland from the USA and was staying with family at Summerhill in Co Meath.

He went to TGI Friday’s on Fleet Street, Temple Bar, Dublin 2 for a steak dinner at around 5.30pm in March 31st 2015.

He ordered a 12oz steak dinner and a non alcoholic drink.

General Manager at the restaurant Carol Brennan spoke to Mr Cribbin while he was waiting for his food because he looked preoccupied, she said.

“I went over to him and said ‘cheer up, it might never happen,’” she said in her deposition.

Later she saw Mr Cribbin waving his arm in the air and diners at the next table said he needed help and that he was gagging.

 “I asked him was he choking and he nodded yes, the steak was stuck. I slapped him on the back. He continued to make heaving sounds,” she said. Mr Cribbin stooped over towards the restaurant wall with his left hand on his chest, Ms Brennan said.

She became visibly upset in the witness box as she described trying to help the stricken diner.

“He stood up and I realised he was a large man and I wouldn’t be able to secure his weight.

I started to do double back slaps on him,” Ms Brennan said.

“He leaned back and knuckle rubbed his chest area and at this stage I thought he was having a heart attack,” she said.

At Dublin Coroner’s Court, the deceased’s brother Páiric Cribbin asked Ms Brennan if any staff at the restaurant were trained in first aid.

She replied that she was trained in first aid with a certificate from the Red Cross.

Linda Scully, a paramedic with Dublin Fire Brigade said CPR was carried out in the ambulance and staff were waiting for Mr Cribbin’s arrival at St James’s hospital.

Doctors removed a piece of steak, 7cm at its maximum diameter, from Mr Cribbin’s throat, the court heard.

He was pronounced dead early the following morning, April 1.

A post mortem examination revealed other large food particles in his stomach.

 The cause of death was cardiac arrest due to choking.

There was no alcohol present in his system.

The autopsy showed moderate coronary heart disease but Coroner Dr Brian Farrell said it was not a case of ‘cafe coronary’ where a person chokes as a result of a heart attack while dining.

The coroner returned a verdict of accidental death due to choking and extended his sympathy to family members in court and to Mr Cribbin’s children in the US.

Via Independent.ie/Louise Roseingrave