A woman died when reflux caused a piece of meat from her stomach to back up in her airway and choke her to death.
Popular 21-year-old Gabrielly Rosa de Medeiros died alone in her room and unable to call for help as the meat suffocated her from the inside with her family feet away in the property.
The tragic incident took place in the city of Jundiai, in the south-eastern Brazilian state of Sao Paulo, on August 31, when her family found her ‘purple’ in the face.
Gabrielly was found lifeless in her room after having lunch with her family.
Local media reports that she choked from reflux after the piece of meat from her meal lodged in her airways.
Reflux occurs when the sphincter muscle at the lower end of the oesophagus relaxes at the wrong time, causing stomach contents to back up into the oesophagus.
It can be caused by stress.
Katia Cristina Rosa Leite informed local media that her niece had gone in the morning for a possible job vacancy and returned home at lunchtime.
She ate and went to her room before her family noticed she was not responding.
She said: “My sister-in-law saw Gabi purple and tried to revive her, but did not manage it.
“She had choked on a piece of meat.”
The family called the emergency services, who pronounced her dead at the scene.
The body was then taken to the local Legal Medical Institute for the post-mortem.
Leite said: “She was like a daughter to me and I saw her grow up.
“It may lessen with time, but she will always be my girl, who I shall love forever.”
Gabrielly was due to be buried today at the Parque dos Ipes Cemetery.
Despite being easy to treat, reflux can be a risk factor for other diseases if not treated appropriately.
According to the UN, the estimated number of individuals suffering from gastroesophageal reflux globally is 1.03 billion.
In 2010, 4.7 million hospitalisations and 1,653 deaths were a result of the