Caitlin Melson was a typical 21 year old girl from Clark, New Jersey whose father died on September 11th in the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center. She took part in the Kappa Delta sorority’s pancake eating contest on Thursday, when she began to choke after eating four or five pancakes.
One of the nursing students quickly recognized what was going on and slowly lowered her to the ground, starting on CPR. Officers showed up less than two minutes after a call was made by one of the nursing students, and tried to clear her airway, but they failed. Melson was quickly rushed over to the closes medical center, St. Vincents, where she was transferred to the Columia University Medical center. Unfortunately, they were unable to save her and she passed on Sunday.
“Kalamaras said Nelson had several food allergies,” but doctors later said that they did not cause her death. Her friends at the competition were aware of her allergies and had emergency contact information available for emergency responders, “who initially thought she was suffering from anaphylactic shock, Kalamaras said.”
Nelson was a junior studying social work and served on the executive board of the sorority as vice president of community service, according to her LinkedIn page and the organization’s website.
Thousands attended a memorial service in her honor on Sunday, and “flags flew at half-staff on campus,” university officials said.