The parents of a 20-year-old Sacred Heart University student are suing the Connecticut university after their daughter choked to death while participating in a school-sponsored pancake-eating contest, Fox News reports.
The fatality happened during the school’s Greek Week celebration March 30, 2017. Caitlin Nelson was taking part in the amateur eating competition when, after eating several pancakes quickly, she began to shake uncontrollably and collapsed onto the ground. Two nursing students who were attending the event attempted lifesaving efforts before police and paramedics arrived.
According to the complaint, the responding officers found her not breathing with her mouth completely filled with pancakes. They also discovered a pancake paste “like concrete” lodged in her airway. She suffered severe brain damage due to oxygen deprivation and was later pronounced dead at the hospital.
Her family filed the lawsuit in Superior Court in Bridgeport, Connecticut alleging Sacred Heart was to blame for Caitlin’s death for failing to investigate the safety of pancake-eating contests before agreeing to allow the event to take place. The lawsuit also claims that the university was negligent for not considering alternative foods like ice cream or whipped cream, which would cause less of a choking hazard, and for not having adequate medical personnel available to respond to a choking at the contest.
The family brought the lawsuit to raise “awareness of the preventable dangers associated with amateur eating competitions.”