(QCOSTARICA) They are delicious. They are addictive. They are colorful. They are exotic. And they are deadly. The “mamon chino”.

139199_620Monday night, Olga Arguedas director of the national children’s hospital ( Hospital Nacional de Niños) in San Jose confirmed the death of a 9 year-old girl, after entering hospital on Sunday, of “consequences of severe hypoxia caused by prolonged airway obstruction.”

In simple English: she chocked, the large pit of the mamon chino stuck her throat.

The little girl had been taken hospital in delicate condition, but died hours later. The incident occurred in Grecia, some 40 minutes west of San Jose, where she lived with her family.

On September 7, a two-year old died, chocking on the seed of the same fruit.

Authorities are asking for parents and guardians to exercise caution, learn the Heimlich maneuver – abdominal thrusts –  procedure used to treat upper airway obstructions (or choking) by foreign objects.

A choking victim is usually unable to speak, and may not be able to make much sound at all.  The reaction time should not exceed three minutes, brain death will occur in 4 to 5 minutes.

First Aid

abdominalthrust_heimlichmanoeuvreFirst ask, “Are you choking? Can you speak?” DO NOT perform first aid if the person is coughing forcefully and is able to speak. A strong cough can often dislodge the object.

If the person is choking, perform abdominal thrusts as follows:

  • If the person is sitting or standing, position yourself behind the person and reach your arms around his or her waist. For a child, you may have to kneel.
  • Place your fist, thumb side in, just above the person’s navel (belly button).
  • Grasp the fist tightly with your other hand.
  • Make quick, upward and inward thrusts with your fist.
  • If the person is lying on his or her back, straddle the person facing the head. Push your grasped fist upward and inward in a movement similar to the one above.

You may need to repeat the procedure several times before the object is dislodged. If repeated attempts do not free the airway, call 911.