The lawsuit against the Porto Bello Italian Restaurant, 41 Washington Ave., was filed last month in Ottawa County Circuit Court on behalf of Carey and David Slager of Zeeland.
The Slagers were having a meal with friends on July 28 when Carey felt a stab of pain in her throat while swallowing a bite of food, the lawsuit says. A shard of either plastic or ceramic penetrated her throat and lodged next to her carotid artery, said their attorney, Ken Breese of Holland, when contacted this week.
“Had it moved, it would have sliced that vessel and killed her,” Breese said. “The manager came over and thought maybe she had swallowed a toothpick, or that maybe she burned her throat.
“Ultimately, I think, they didn’t charge her for the meal,” he added.
The restaurant's owner, Scott TenHagen, said once he was made aware of the lawsuit late last week, he discussed it with his staff.
“There’s nothing that shows there was anybody in distress that night,” TenHagen said. “Our standard procedure for a customer in distress is to call 911. Nobody left the building in distress because we would not allow it.”
Breese said Carey Slager saw a doctor after the incident, but the doctor didn’t see anything wrong and said her swallowing problem was consistent with a burn. But Carey continued to have problems, the attorney said, and she eventually returned for medical care.
“They did a CT (scan) and found the object,” Breese said.
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