Inquest begins

DOCTORS could possibly have prevented a 44-year-old Gainsborough dad dying of a heart attack if they had looked at his symptoms more closely, an inquest has heard.

The inquest into the death of Dean Beresford, who died on 11th August last year, was resumed on Tuesday at Lincoln Coroners Court.

Mr Beresford, a lorry driver, died after a huge heart attack at work, just 11 days after doctors wrongly diagnosed him with a chest infection.

He had lived in Forster Street for five years with long term partner Tina Coupland and their four-year-old daughter Isobella.

The inquest heard how Mr Beresford sought medical help on 31st July 2010 because he was experiencing chest and arm pain, was wheezing, had a cough and felt feverish.

Tina urged him to call NHS Direct for advice.

The helpline deemed his symptoms serious enough that a doctor from Lincoln County Hospital called him straight back. But an ambulance was not called.

Mr Beresford told Dr Richard Smith, over the phone that he was worried because of a family history of heart disease.

His mother died after an angina attack aged 50, and his father had a heart attack at 65.

Dr Smith sent him immediately to an out of hours GP at John Coupland Hospital in Gainsborough - and Mr Beresford was seen just 20 minutes after that phone call.

But out of hours GP, Dr Kevin Lee, did not pick up on Mr Beresford’s most troubling symptom - the chest pain - nor his family history.

Instead he diagnosed a chest infection and sent Mr Beresford home with antibiotics.

Dr Lee admitted at the inquest he had made a misdiagnosis. And Dr Smith said: “I wish I had delved more into the chest pain.”

A post mortem concluded Mr Beresford had suffered a heart attack in the days before he died, weakening the heart tissue and finally causing it to rupture on 11th August.

The coroner was due to return his verdict on Wednesday 30th November.