Man died after choking on Mars bar on Luas, inquest hears

David O’Reilly (49) collapsed on Abbey Street and died almost three weeks later in hospital

A verdict of accidental death has been returned at an inquest into the death of a man who choked on a Mars Bar while travelling on a Luas in Dublin.

David O’Reilly, of Kingscourt, Co Cavan, stepped off a tram on Abbey Street and collapsed on October 29th, 2015, Dublin City Coroner’s Court heard.

A number of other passengers came to the aid of the 49-year-old and he was taken to the Mater Hospital, where part of a Mars Bar was removed from his airway.

He was treated in the intensive care unit but was later transferred to a six bed ward. The inquest heard a care plan had been devised that Mr O’Reilly would be moved to a single occupancy room for palliative care and his siblings were upset to find him on a ward.


Mr O'Reilly's sister Frances Buchanan raised concerns about the manner in which he was moved from the high dependency unit.

However, Prof Karen Ryan, a consultant in palliative care at the Mater Hospital, said she did not believe the transfer to the ward had any bearing on the outcome for the deceased.

Cardiac arrest

In his medical report, Dr Stephen Stuart, the consultant on call at the Mater Hospital, noted that Mr O'Reilly had inhaled part of a Mars Bar and suffered a cardiac arrest.

He died almost three weeks later on November 17th, 2015 and the cause of death was noted as severe brain damage due to lack of oxygen caused by aspiration of a food bolus (obstruction of the oesophagus).

Coroner Dr Crona Gallagher noted that "the damage was done" after Mr O'Reilly had been deprived of oxygen following the choking incident.

Ms Buchanan said it was important to the family that the deceased would have had dignity in death. Once he was moved to a single occupancy room his palliative care was “second to none,” she said.

“He had a heart of gold. He was so kind. He had very little but he would give you anything,” Ms Buchanan said.