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Biscuit in tiffin chokes boy before playtime

- 11-year-old dies after eight hours on ventilator

A Class VI student at Delhi Public School New Town died on Tuesday evening, hours after he choked on a biscuit during the school break.

Aryan Dutta, 11, and his friends were possibly in a hurry to finish their tiffin so that they could use most of the 30-minute break to play, a teacher said.

The boy, a resident of Duff Road in Maniktala, was taken to Columbia Asia Hospital in Salt Lake.

“He was brought to the hospital in an extremely critical condition with almost no pulse rate. His blood pressure too was very low. Despite attempts to revive him, he was sinking and died in the evening,” said an official of the hospital.

The boy was declared dead at 8.30pm. A post-mortem will be conducted, the official said.

Aryan had first been taken to the school clinic on the ground floor. The children were in their second-floor classroom when the incident occurred at 12.25pm. The school recess is from 12.15pm to 12.45pm.

“A few kids came running and informed a guard that Aryan was choking and could not breathe,” said Sonali Sen, the principal of the school. “Our teachers and guards took him to the clinic and the nurses managed to take out a piece of biscuit. But the boy was already unconscious and we rushed him to hospital.”

Aryan was admitted to the Salt Lake hospital, around 4.5km from the school, just before 1pm and put on life support.

The school authorities alerted Aryan’s parents, both employees of a private bank, on the way to hospital.

The Duttas had moved to Calcutta from Doha, where Aryan’s father Palak Dutta was posted, only last year and admitted their son to DPS.

Teachers described Aryan as polite and obedient, a good student, especially in English and math.

According to a teacher, some students would rush through their tiffin so that they could rush to the playground for a game of cricket with paper balls and wooden rulers or play catch-me-if-you-can.

Doctors said choking is likely to occur when one gulps down food or swallows it without chewing properly, causing the food to go down the air pipe and block it or get lodged in the lungs.

It is crucial to remove the object causing the blockage as soon as possible. “The simple thing to do is to make the victim lie on his chest and slap him on the back,” said critical care expert Subrata Maitra.

“If that does not work, the next option would be to box the person just below the ribcage, near the diaphragm. That would make the foreign body come out,” said Amitabha Saha, also a critical care expert. “Such instructions are a part of basic life support training in developed countries and can save many lives.”