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Friday, March 1, 2024 | Back issues
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Widow Says Rescuers Killed Choking Husband

(CN) - A Florida widow claims in court that poorly trained Firehouse Subs' employees trying to aid her choking husband instead caused his death by asphyxiation.

In a complaint filed in Palm Beach County, Fla., Maryann Skoff says that on March 24, 2014, her husband Ennio was eating turkey sandwich at a Firehouse Subs in Boca Raton, when he suddenly began choking.

A number of shop's employees rushed to help Skoff, and began performing CPR and mouth-to-mouth resuscitation on him.

However, the plaintiff says, they did so without first clearing her husband's airway.

"As a result," the March 28 complaint says, "the obstruction of partially chewed sandwich was forced down and lodged in Decedent's trachea" causing Ennio Skoff's death.

Maryann Skoff claims Firehouse Subs and franchise owners, Doroty and Edvard Dessalines, failed to train employees to safely provide aid to choking victims or to call 911 in the event of an emergency.

The complaint also claims that Firehouse Subs' firefighting theme and emergency response décor induced employees to attempt the doomed rescue.

Florida Statue 509.213 requires restaurants to post signs that describe the Heimlich maneuver, and to familiarize employees with how to perform it, neither of which happened at this Firehouse Subs, according to the complaint.

But that same statue also clarifies that restaurants and their employees should not be held liable for damages relating to the Heimlich, so long as their actions have been sensible.

The complaint doesn't say whether the Firehouse employees attempted to perform the Heimlich maneuver on Skoff before administering mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.

An attorney for Firehouse Subs declined to comment on the pending ltitigation.

Maryann Skoff seeks unspecified damages on claims of wrongful death and negligence per se.

She is is represented by Eric Rudenberg of Rudenberg and Glasser, PA in Fort Lauderdale.

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