Dad-of-four dies of heart failure - a day after sprained muscle diagnosis

A DISTRAUGHT widow is planning legal action against a hospital she blames for failing to spot her husband’s illness just 24 hours before he died of heart failure.

Grieving Wendy Kingsbury must now raise four children alone after her husband Colin died the day after she says he was sent him home from Ipswich Hospital and told to rest a sprained muscle.

Mrs Kingsbury says she is now preparing to take legal action against the hospital for the what she claims was “dismissive” way her husband’s life-threatening condition went untreated.

Mr Kingsbury, a plumber, was 39 when he visited A & E last November, complaining of pain in his chest and left arm. Five years earlier he had suffered a heart attack and both he, and wife Wendy, were anxious as doctors checked him over. Mrs Kingsbury said: “He was feeling very unwell and was extremely short of breath.

“He was asked whether he had done any heavy lifting - but we told the doctor he could hardly walk to the bottom of the garden without losing his breath.

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“But because he was a big manual worker they seemed to have made their mind up that he had pulled a muscle in his arm.”

Mrs Kingsbury, 39, said she repeatedly challenged the diagnosis and encouraged hospital staff to carry out an Electrocardiogram (ECG), which apparently failed to detect the lack of oxygen being sent from her husband’s arteries to his heart. “By then, Colin had been resting for more than an hour in the waiting room and an ECG rarely spots a blocked artery. He was sent home and given false hope that he was in good health.”

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Mr Kingsbury suffered from a hereditary heart condition which affected his father and grandfather, who died in his 30s from heart failure. Despite a history of heart problems he was prescribed painkillers, which the couple discovered were unsuitable for someone with a history of heart problems, and Mrs Kingsbury says she was later invoiced for following her husband’s death.

A day after being discharged from hospital, Mr Kingsbury collapsed and died in his wife’s arms at the family home in Foxhall Road, Ipswich.

The couple had a son, Jack, and three teenage children from Wendy’s previous marriage.

Mrs Kingsbury has since been left unable to put her faith in the health service. She said: “I’m so distraught and angry - I just want someone to take responsibility. I wouldn’t want this to happen to anyone else.

“I think Colin should have been kept in for observation and given oxygen and clot busting drugs. I thought the doctors were so blase and quite dismissive. We were made to feel like we were wasting their time.

“At first I was in shock but now I’m just angry - I want to scream and shout at them.

“Six months on, and the impact and the implications have been massive. I’ve been told the pain gets easier but it doesn’t - I miss him and so do the children.

“He and Jack were inseparable, and he still thinks his dad is coming back.”

Mrs Kingsbury now fears she will be forced to sell the house the family moved into two years ago. It was half restored when Colin died and his friends have since pitched in to finish the work.

Mrs Kingsbury says she has instructed solicitors and is dis-satisfied with what she sees as the hospital’s reluctance to co-operate. “I have requested Colin’s medical records and despite repeated requests for test results from that night, I’ve heard nothing since December,” she said.

“The hospital has held back on releasing the chest x-ray and blood results so I couldn’t say what his diagnosis was based on.

I have since learnt that it isn’t uncommon for Colin’s condition not to show up on a ECG, as he wasn’t having a heart attack, his arteries were blocked and his heart was slowly being starved of oxygen.

“I have gone over what happened time and time again, wishing I had argued more with the doctor, but Colin put his life in their hands and we trusted what they said.”

A spokeswoman said Ipswich Hospital was unable to comment on Mr Kingsbury’s case while legal action is pending but stressed the hospital would co-operate fully.

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