Cerebral Palsy boy chokes to death on meatball

The only photograph of the deceased at this age with the family

When Tenzin Rinchen sent his 16-year-old son off to Draktsho vocational training center for special children and youth on 20 August, he never imagined he wouldn’t come home.

The shattered father now lives a nightmarish aftermath after his child died choking on a piece of a meatball during his lunch period.

On 20 August, the students were served lunch by some Thai guest and one of the dishes was beef curry.

The school authority responded saying that they had tried their best to save him and within five minutes the victim was taken to the emergency ward of the hospital.

However, the boy was declared ‘brought dead’ by the doctor on duty.

School authority also stated that due to his deformed chest and longish neck, the chances of his survival was less. They further stated that, it might not be only due to the meatball but also due to saliva since there was always saliva dripping from the victim’s mouth.

Tenzin Rinchen, father of the victim told The Bhutanese, “I feel that if my son was taken to the hospital on time, he could have been saved. I do not want to make any hue and cry because by doing so, I am not going to get back my son. I just want people to be extra careful so that such mishaps do not happen again in the long run”.

On that fateful day, Tenzin Rinchen and his wife were having lunch and right then they received a call from one of the staff of the school who informed them that their son had fallen down and asked him to visit the emergency ward immediately.

Later, Tenzin Rinchen again received a call saying that his son had not fallen but had choked on a meatball.

Upon reaching the hospital, he saw his son on the hospital bed along with the meatball placed on a side table. Doctors said that he is no more.

“I did not know how to react and tears just started to roll from my eyes. I could not ask anyone, how it happened?” the father said in a sad tone.

The deceased was admitted to Draktsho school last year, and the father said his son was doing much better after his enrollment in the school.

Prior to his admission to Draktsho, the victim could not even get inside vehicles without help, but after joining the school, he could easily get in and out of vehicles.

“I was so happy to see the improvement in him and thought very soon he might have control over the bowel movements too. This is the only regret I will have for the rest of my life that he had to die in such a way,” the grieved father said.

Tandin Tshering was the eldest of five siblings and suffered from Cerebral palsy which is an abnormality of motor function that is caused by damage-to or lack of development of the brain. It is typically acquired at an early age as the result of trauma before, during, or just after birth.

The father of the victim said that he was never a burden for the family in fact when he was alive, he had suffered a lot, and he could not complain when hungry and remained silent all the time.

An amount of Nu 10,000 was given to the family by the Draktsho school authority during the funeral and Nu 6000 by the Thai guest to express their condolences to the family.

‘I don’t have words to describe how I feel right now sharing the story but we will miss him and will always cherish his memories,” said the father, showing a passport photograph which was the only photo the family had of the deceased.


Chencho Dema / Thimphu

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