Expert evidence is needed to establish if a “systems breach” by a mental health trust contributed to the death of a woman, a coroner heard.
Lawyer Nick Fairweather said “arguably” a breach in relation to equipment and training may have led to Pauline Parr’s death at Prospect Park Hospital.
A pre-inquest review heard Mrs Parr, 72 and from Reading, died after choking on a sandwich on 25 May 2017.
A full inquest into her death at the Reading hospital is due in 2019.
Mr Fairweather, a medical lawyer representing the Parr family at Reading Coroner’s Court, called for an “Article 2” inquest to take place to establish the cause of Mrs Parr’s death.
Article 2 inquests are enhanced hearings and can be used in cases where the deceased was under the care or responsibility of social services or healthcare professionals.
Mr Fairweather said: “The family’s position is that Article 2 is engaged.
“There are systems issues here and expert evidence is needed to address whether there was a systems breach which caused Mrs Parr’s death.”
He added “arguably” there was a “systems breach” in relation to the “arrangements” of the mental health trust’s equipment and training.
Claire Anderson, representing Prospect Park, said resuscitating a patient was a “rare event” in mental health hospitals and that staff were trained in “basic life support”.
She added mental health trusts were “not set up in the same way” as physical health trusts, adding there is a “clear distinction between the two”.
A total of 12 witnesses are expected to give evidence to a jury in an eight-day inquest.
Senior Coroner Peter Bedford said submissions by both parties as to whether an Article 2 inquest should take place, would be made in the coming weeks.
He said a further pre-inquest review would take place in “late November” and apologised to the Parr family for the delay in proceedings.
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