Family sues Sacred Heart University after daughter dies following pancake-eating contest

Police found Nelson’s mouth 'compacted with pancakes, almost to her teeth,' which felt 'like concrete.'

Chelsea Ritschel
New York
Tuesday 30 October 2018 15:03 GMT
Sacred Heart University is being sued over fatal pancake contest (Google)
Sacred Heart University is being sued over fatal pancake contest (Google)

A family is suing Sacred Heart University after their daughter, a 20-year-old student, died after participating in a pancake-eating contest.

Caitlin Nelson’s family filed the lawsuit on Monday against the Connecticut-based university, according to the Hartford Courant.

Nelson’s death occurred when, minutes into the March 30 2017 contest, the student from Clark, New Jersey, began to choke.

Medics who were called to the scene were unable to clear Nelson’s mouth and throat of pancakes, leading to a deprivation of oxygen and subsequent brain damage.

According to the Hartford Courant, police found Nelson’s mouth “compacted with pancakes, almost to her teeth,” which felt “like concrete.”

Nelson, a member of the Kappa Delta sorority, was transported to a local New York Hospital, and then Columbia University Medical Centre, where she later died days later.

The cause of death, according to the autopsy, was determined to be asphyxia due to obstruction of the airways.

In the lawsuit, it is claimed that the university is at fault for allowing the contest to occur. In addition to monetary damages, the lawsuit also seeks to bring awareness to the dangers of eating contests.

“These contests are significantly more dangerous than people realise and it’s critically important for the public - especially educational institutions - to understand that certain foods are safer than others and a modicum of forethought can literally save lives,” the lawsuit states.

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The lawsuit also suggests alternative foods for future competitions, such as ice cream or whipped cream, which would not be as likely to block a person’s air passages.

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