A widower and his family have spoken of their loss after his wife died from a second heart attack which a legal challenge has shown could have been avoided.
Anthony Collins – known as Todd – from Spalding, and his wife, Christine, were married for 44 years before she passed away in April 2009 at Nottingham City Hospital, aged 64.
Six years on, Mr Collins, 71, a retired self-employed builder, has brought a successful claim against Pilgrim Hospital, Boston, where Mrs Collins was admitted after a first heart attack in July 2008. The hospital admitted her second fatal heart attack, on balance, would have been avoided had it carried out investigations revealing the need for bypass surgery. Mrs Collins was being treated by consultant cardiologist Dr Jaroslav Skopal.
Mrs Collins suffered her second heart attack in March 2009. She was again admitted to Pilgrim Hospital but due to the severity of the attack, she was transferred to Nottingham City Hospital.
Medical evidence in the case showed that on the balance of probabilities, had investigations been carried out following the first heart attack, they would have revealed that Mrs Collins had severe heart disease including a blocked right coronary artery, requiring bypass surgery.
Experts also agreed that Mrs Collins’ life expectancy, had she had the surgery, would have been between 11 and 15 years.
Mr Collins, who has three daughters and eight grandchildren, was supported in his claim by medical negligence experts at Langleys Solicitors, Lincoln.
Alison Lewis, Mr Collins’ eldest daughter who also lives in Spalding, said: “Dad is still very bereaved – he thought he was going to spend his retirement with Mum. She was the centre of the family, really active and loved looking after her grandchildren.
“I went with Mum to all the follow up consultations after her first heart attack and the doctor kept saying it was a mild heart attack and she would be fine. Mum was worried and I asked if she should be referred, but the answer was no. If the Pilgrim Hospital had done the right thing, Mum would still be with us today. We’ve spent six long years fighting this case and the hospital’s response all along has been nothing short of insulting to our family.”
Andrew Cragg, a senior associate in the medical law team at Langleys Solicitors, acted for Mr Collins. He said: “Pilgrim Hospital admitted breach of duty and causation in this case. Sadly, no further treatment could be undertaken following Mrs Collins’ second heart attack – she was aware of the seriousness of her condition and that she would die which was a terrible ordeal for her husband and family to bear.”