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Family Sues Sacred Heart University After Daughter Dies From Choking

The mother of a Connecticut college student, who ended up dying after choking on pancakes during an eating contest on campus last year, has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the university.

Rosanne Nelson sued Sacred Heart University on Monday in Bridgeport state court over the tdeath of her daughter, 20-year-old Caitlin Nelson, of Clark. The lawsuit is seeking an undisclosed amount of money and also accuses the school of approving the contest despite the possible dangers of it, and also failing to provide adequate medical personnel during the time of the event.

Nelson also says the university could have considered alternative foods like ice cream or whipped cream for the contest which, unlike pancakes, wouldn’t turn into a “thick glob of paste” when they come into contact with saliva, which of course, caused her daughter to choke. The Catholic university is “unable to comment on ongoing litigation,” at this time.

Officials at the Catholic university in Fairfield declined to comment.

At the time of the incident, Caitlin Nelson was a junior social work major whose father, police officer James Nelson, was killed in the September 11 attacks in New York City.

When the student began to choke at the contest, two nursing students immediately began lifesaving measures and were quickly joined by police officers and paramedics, according to reports from police. Caitlin was taken to an area hospital, where she initially thought to be in critical but stable condition, according to police.

She was transported to a New York hospital where she later died, three days after participating in the eating contest. “It’s a tragic event that started out as something fun,” Fairfield police Lt. Bob Kalamaras said at the time. “It was just a tragic accident.”



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