A disabled man was choking to death on the floor of a McDonald’s restaurant as patrons stepped over him to order food, according to witnesses and videotape footage presented at a coroner’s inquest Wednesday.
Mike Ore, who suffered from spina bifida, had collapsed when a morsel of his meal lodged in his throat, the British inquest heard. He toppled from his wheel chair onto the floor, where people moved over his shaking body, witnesses said.
“I could not believe it, but some customers stepped over his body to get to the counter,” customer Johnny Langden told the hearing, according The Telegraph. “I was standing in queue at McDonald’s with my family when I saw this man in a wheelchair clearly in distress.”
He and two women tried to help, but weren’t able to dislodge the food stuck in his throat, he said, the paper reported. Ore turned purple and died.
Coroner David Dooley said Ore had several health issues besides spina bifida. He also had gout, Dooley said and was a heavy smoker and drinker.
An autopsy showed Ore had been drinking and the coroner said alcohol can inhibit the swallowing reflux.
“Unfortunately nobody appeared to notice his condition until it was too late,” Dooley said.
Ore’s death was ruled an accident.