Woman ‘choked to death’ at Reading mental health hospital

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Prospect Park Hospital specialises in mental health illnesses

A woman put too much food in her mouth when she choked to death while in the care of a mental health trust, an inquest heard.

Pauline Parr collapsed aged 72 after suffocating on what is thought to have been a sandwich at Prospect Park Hospital in Reading on 25 May 2017.

Reading Coroner’s Court heard Ms Parr had gulped the food despite staff telling her to wait.

Her carer Victoria Case described the patient as a “fast eater”.

Ms Case told the inquest jury that Ms Parr “was an anxious patient”, who would fret about things like food or not having her husband around.

She said, however, there was no reason to be concerned over her eating habits.

The court heard that on the day of her death Ms Parr had gone up to the dining room to demand food which had been pre-ordered by other patients.

‘Held my hand’

Ms Case told the inquest she told Ms Parr to sit down and wait while she went to order food.

Upon returning, Ms Case said she could see in the patient’s eyes she needed help, but it “hadn’t clicked” she was choking.

Ms Case said: “Pauline came and held my hand, and she had food in her mouth.”

She said she “had no idea” where it had come from.

Ms Case said: “Then I could hear [a patient] at the back of [me] saying ‘she is choking.'”

The carer then gave Ms Parr three backslaps to try to get the food out.

She then tried to get the patient to the clinic room, but she collapsed, the court heard.

A nurse and two doctors helped put Ms Parr in to the recovery position and gave her CPR, but with no success.

The inquest is expect to last for six days.

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