Tragic death of boy who choked at school ‘could not have been predicted’

Theodore Silvester, five.
Theodore Silvester, five.
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THE heartbroken parents of a five-year-old boy who choked at school have paid tribute to their happy, smiling boy at an inquest which found his death was a “tragic accident.”

An inquest in Hull today heard how Theodore Silvester died after a sausage roll got stuck in his throat as he was eating his packed lunch at Anlaby Primary School near Hull.

A five-year-old girl alerted a teaching assistant that the little boy was choking and members of staff, who were trained in paediatric first aid, immediately swung into action.

However despite their desperate efforts they were unable to remove the obstruction in his throat.

Paramedics arrived at the school within three minutes of the call, on February 3, and continued CPR, and a clinical supervisor, who came within 10 minutes, was able to remove pieces of sausage roll.

He was then rushed to Hull Royal Infirmary, where they made further attempts to save his life, but to no avail.

Consultant paediatrician Dr Mary Barraclough told the hearing the accident was “almost unsurvivable” because fragments of food had passed below his larynx, which would have been impossible for the school or paramedics to remove.

In a statement his mum Katie, who was in court with husband Alan, and members of the family, said Theo “would always be her baby.”

She recalled a boy who loved books, cars and super heroes, and had a favourite Spider-Man blanket.

She said they’d had many “very special” times with Theo, snuggling in bed while he took his afternoon nap, and riding on his Dad’s shoulders.

She said: “Theo is my baby and always will be. He was only with us a short time and was taken so suddenly and tragically on February 3.

“He left a void in our world and family and friends. Everyone who thinks of him will think of his beautiful smile. He was the life and soul and brightened every room.”

Coroner Prof Paul Marks said Theo’s death was the result of a “tragic accident which could not have been predicted”. He said attempts to save Theo’s life had been “appropriate and timely”.

Despite the staff’s “commendable” efforts, Theo could not be saved “because food had passed into the lower airways and there was essentially an irrecoverable situation.”

Prof Marks also commended the little girl who alerted staff to his plight “for her fast thinking.”

Headteacher Gareth May said: “Theo’s death was a terrible tragedy which has deeply affected everyone who knew him.

“I would like to thank our staff and others who made desperate efforts to save him.

“We will always remember Theo as a happy, laughing child and our thoughts and prayers are with his family.”