An 82-year-old US tourist on her dream trip to Ireland choked to death on a piece of food while having a meal at a restaurant at the Trump Doonbeg resort, an inquest has heard.
At the Co Clare coroner’s court, County Coroner, Isobel O’Dea found that Janet Buchebner died of asphyxiation secondary to choking on a piece of food at the dining room at the Trump Doonbeg resort on May 25 this year.
The type of food in question was not disclosed at the inquest and Ms Buchebner died in spite of the efforts of three off-duty doctors on hand and Trump Doonbeg staff who also provided assistance.
A native of Brooklyn, New York City, Ms Buchebner of Country Club Drive, Destin, Florida collapsed and died while having a meal with her daughter, Jeannie McGee.
County Coroner, Isobel O’Dea told the coroner’s court: “Everything that could have been done was done. We were fortunate that there were three medics on hand and every possible assistance was given to Ms Buchebner by staff as well.”
A US obituary of the great-grandmother of five "much adored" great grandchildren records that Ms Buchebner passed away on May 25 in Ireland “while on a long dreamed trip to see her family's heritage”.
'Call an ambulance - that woman is not well'
In her deposition, Asst Manager at Trump Doonbeg, Máiréad Flynn said that around 7.30pm on May 25 she was alerted to come into the resort’s dining room.
Local man, Tony Pender had been talking to Ms Buchebner and Ms McGee at their table and Ms Flynn said that Mr Pender came to her and said: “Call an ambulance - that woman is not well.”
In his evidence, Mr Pender stated: “I noticed Janet was having difficulties. I knew by her face that she was in distress. She wasn’t coughing - she just leaned over.”
Mr Pender stated: “I alerted people around the table and went to the staff to tell them.”
In her deposition, Ms McGee said that her mother had a history of heart problems for the past 10 years and was prescribed antibiotics for a chest infection 10 days previously at Castlemartyr in Co Cork.
Ms McGee was unable to travel to the inquest from Florida but stated that in her deposition on May 25 her mother was not feeling well.
On the evening, hotel staff then approached Shannon GP, Dr Peter Flynn to see if he could offer assistance. Dr Flynn was in an adjacent lounge with his wife Dr Gwen Murray and Dr Ciarán Hughes.
Dr Flynn said: “I was told by a member of staff that a guest had collapsed in the dining room. When I went to see her, the woman was unresponsive and had no pulse.”
Dr Flynn said that the elderly woman was laid out on a couch.
He said: “One member of staff was doing CPR and another member of staff had a defibrillator...I then asked someone to get my wife and Dr Hughes and they came to attach the defibrillator. We also continued CPR for 15 minutes.”
However, Dr Flynn pronounced Ms Buchebner dead at 8pm.
Ms Flynn told the inquest: “There was a large attempt by everyone to aid Janet, but it was unsuccessful."
A post mortem carried out on Ms Buchebner’s remains on May 29 at University Hospital Limerick found that her larynx was blocked by food and this same piece of food was identified in the upper part of the oesophagus which also blocked.
The post mortem found that the cause of death was asphyxiation secondary to choking.
Addressing Ms Flynn, Ms O’Dea said: “I want to thank you for the efforts you and your staff made in trying to save Ms Buchebner.”
Ms O’Dea said that she was has been in contact with the family’s lawyer in the US concerning the inquest "on the sad passing of Ms Buchebner".