Woman chokes to death after falling asleep chewing gum

A woman choked to death after she choked on a piece of chewing gum when she fell asleep, an inquest heard.

Sulwen Jones, 55, chewed gum regularly which helped deal with having a dry mouth from medication.

But she was found to have died in a freak accident because of it at her home in Caernarfon, North Wales.

Her sister found her unconscious on October 5, 2021, and paramedics were not able to revive her.

The inquest this week was told Sulwen took medication for multiple sclerosis, which she was diagnosed with exactly 20 years before she died.

Former medical records receptionist Sulwen ‘habitually’ chewed gum for her dry throat, the hearing heard.

Paramedics told the hearing in Caernarfon they believed she had fallen asleep with a piece in her mouth and choked.

A post mortem later found traces of chewing gum throughout her body including her airways.

Her medical cause of death was given as aspiration of chewing gum due to multiple sclerosis.

Assistant Coroner Sarah Riley returned a conclusion of accidental death.
She said: ‘I agree with pathologists in respect of the medical cause of death.

‘Miss Jones’s death will be ruled as an accident due to the unexpected consequence of chewing gum.’

Her family described Sulwen as ‘unique’ and said she was ‘full of determination’ and ‘very brave’.

They said she fought the condition only for her movement to deteriorate during the final four years of her life.

Her sister Nerys Jones said in a statement: ‘Without a doubt this determination helped her through her life in the latter years.

‘She was a very family orientated person and we as siblings are privileged to have been able to call her our little sister.’

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