An 82-year-old man in South Korea had a heart attack after choking on a piece of "live octopus," or san-nakji, a local delicacy comprised of freshly severed – and still wriggling – tentacles. The incident occurred when the elderly man was dining at a restaurant in the city of Busan. It is a common practice in South Korea to eat live octopus, which is considered a delicacy and is often enjoyed while it is still squirming on the plate. However, this particular meal took a turn for the worse when one of the tentacles became lodged in the man's throat, causing him to choke. The man's dining companions immediately called for an ambulance, but before help could arrive, he suffered a heart attack. Paramedics arrived at the scene and were able to revive the man using an automated external defibrillator (AED) and other life-saving measures. He was then rushed to the hospital, where he is currently in stable condition. Instances of people choking on live octopus are not uncommon in South Korea, as the tentacles can stick to the throat due to their suction cups. In fact, it is estimated that more than six people die each year in the country from choking on san-nakji. Despite the risks, the dish remains popular among adventurous eaters in South Korea. The thrill of eating a still-moving octopus appeals to many, and the dish is often seen as a test of bravery and skill. San-nakji is typically served with sesame oil and soy sauce, and diners are advised to chew each piece thoroughly before swallowing. It is also recommended to cut the tentacles into smaller pieces to avoid the risk of choking. The incident with the 82-year-old man has once again sparked debate about the safety of eating live octopus. Animal rights activists have long criticized the practice, arguing that it is cruel and unnecessary. They argue that it is possible to enjoy octopus dishes without subjecting the animals to unnecessary suffering. On the other hand, proponents of live octopus consumption argue that it is an important part of Korean culinary tradition and should be preserved. They believe that when eaten responsibly, san-nakji can be enjoyed without causing harm to the diner or the animal. For those who do choose to eat live octopus, it is important to take precautions and be aware of the potential risks involved. It is recommended to eat san-nakji under the supervision of experienced staff who can ensure the safety of the diners. Additionally, diners should be aware of the signs of choking and know what to do if someone begins to choke on a tentacle. Immediate action is crucial in these situations, as choking can quickly escalate into a life-threatening emergency. While the incident involving the 82-year-old man is unfortunate, it serves as a reminder of the potential dangers associated with eating live octopus. It is important for individuals to make informed choices about the food they consume and to prioritize their own safety and well-being.
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