Fashion student Narinthorn Alexander dies after collapsing during 21st birthday night out

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A fashion student died after collapsing in a restaurant bathroom while out celebrating her 21st birthday, an inquest heard.

Narinthorn Alexander, 21, was found unconscious in the lavatory at Thai Tho in Soho after friends asked a waiter to unlock the door.

An inquest heard she had drunk half a bottle of Jack Daniel’s and choked on her vomit, stopping the flow of oxygen to her brain. She only received first aid when police arrived because none of the staff were trained, the hearing was told. The waiter who opened the door did not know how to call an ambulance so her friends did, St Pancras coroner’s court heard.

She had a cardiac arrest on the way to hospital and remained in a coma for six days before her life-support machine was turned off. 

Narinthorn, who was born in Thailand, was studying at the University of West London. She turned 21 on March 9 and went out with a group of seven, including her boyfriend, two days later. 

A close friend told the inquest: “I didn’t think she was drinking that much, just Jack Daniel’s with mixers and having a good time.

Venue: none of Thai Tho’s staff were trained in first aid, the inquest heard

“When the food did arrive she did have a tiny bit to eat. She was starting to feel a bit tipsy. It got to the point where she came over and whispered in my ear and said, ‘I’m going to the toilet, I will be right back’. I’m not sure how long she disappeared for. Later her boyfriend came downstairs and told me that Narinthorn was sick upstairs and she had passed out. When I went into the toilet I found her unconscious on the floor. She was not responding at all — I had never seen her like that. Her friend was holding her head up … I was shaking her.”

Paramedic Jayden Hedt said: “We arrived and saw the patient lying in the recovery position with the police in attendance… all we know is she drank half a bottle  of Jack Daniel’s. I started chest compressions and we decided we needed to have a good look at her airway. It was quite large chunks of chicken, enough to cause a significant airways obstruction.”

Cause of death was given as a hypoxic brain injury and cardiac arrest, asphyxiation vomitus and alcohol toxicity.

Coroner Mary Hassell said: “It seems to me that any organisation which deals with the public should at least make sure that staff know how to call an ambulance. But that did not make any difference at all to Narinthorn … what underlies all of this is alcohol, I’m afraid.”

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