Ipswich: Colin Kingsbury’s widow tells people to trust their instincts if in doubt over medical advice

Colin Kingsbury and his son Jack

Colin Kingsbury and his son Jack - Credit: Archant

The widow of a man sent home from A&E and told to take painkillers just hours before he died has told people to trust their instincts if they have doubts about medical advice.

Colin Kingsbury’s heart stopped in November 2009, the result of a blocked artery slowly starving the organ of oxygen.

Yesterday, the NHS agreed to pay a cash settlement to the family, at the High Court in London.

But the hospital refused to admit liability and Mr Kingsbury’s wife Wendy has never received an apology.

Despite his wife’s desperate efforts to resuscitate him, the 38-year-old died at the family home in Foxhall Road, Ipswich, with three of his four children there to witness their devastating loss.

The High Court heard Mr Kingsbury had been suffering severe chest pains and breathlessness in the days before his collapse.

His family’s legal team claimed after waiting two hours at Ipswich Hospital, the plumber had been sent home from A&E on a Saturday and advised to take painkillers after medics told him his symptoms were unlikely to be heart-related.

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It was claimed the hospital negligently failed to follow up his case or take a proper account of his family history – he suffered a heart attack at the age of 34 and his father and uncle both suffered cardiac problems in their 30s, putting him at high risk of further cardiac problems.

The legal team’s medical experts claimed that if Mr Kingsbury had been tested immediately, medics would have picked up the signs of the acute arterial disease that was to kill him the next day.

Instead his family’s lawyers claimed he was told his pain was probably due to a musculo-skeletal problem.

“It has been an absolutely horrendous three-and-a-half years,” Mrs Kingsbury said after returning from London last night.

“It takes two years just to build your case, seeking the medical experts, getting hold of Colin’s hospital notes – it has consumed me.

“Colin died in a lot of pain. He was the friendliest, kindest man you could meet.

“He was 6ft 5ins – a gentle giant. He would do jobs for old dears and refuse to charge them, ‘because they are living on a pension’, he would tell me. That was the sort of man he was.

“He didn’t deserve this.”

The mother-of-four fought back tears as she described her youngest son Jack, who was three at the time, standing in the garden every night for weeks screaming “I want my daddy back”.

“It tore my family apart,” she added. “My son will never get his dad back, we will never get Colin back.

“Pursuing this was never about the money, you can’t put a price on your husband’s life – no money will ever be enough because nothing will bring Colin back.

“In a funny way it was about getting me off the hook, I blamed myself. Why didn’t I listen to my gut instinct? Why did I let him leave that hospital?

“If we had an apology I would never have taken this route. We do still feel cheated. And part of me didn’t want to settle but I had to for my children.”

Mrs Kingsbury, who had to sell the family home to pay her legal fees, said it is vital that anyone facing a similar situation must trust their gut instinct and push for a second opinion.

“I remember the walk to the car with Colin, I couldn’t get that doubt out of my mind,” she said. “But Colin didn’t want anyone to worry.

“If you are not happy with the care you receive at hospital, don’t just walk away and accept it; trust your instincts and don’t be afraid to ask for a second opinion. You are well within your rights.

“If Colin had stayed in hospital the chances are he would have survived, according to my medical experts.”

An Ipswich Hospital spokeswoman said: “No admissions on liability have been made. However, the Trust has agreed to pay a sum in settlement to Mrs Kingsbury without the need for trial. The Trust would also like to take this opportunity to wish Mrs Kingsbury and her family all the best for the future.”