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Payout over wrong diagnosis death


14 July, 2008  

A widow whose husband died of a heart attack after being sent home from hospital and told he had indigestion has won a compensation payout.

Police dog handler Brian Burnett, 49, went to hospital with severe chest pains.

He was given one electrocardiogram (ECG) to check his heart then told to go home, and it was recommended that he take an indigestion remedy.

But only two days later PC Burnett was found dead in his home near Lincoln by his wife Christine. He had suffered a “critical heart event”, her solicitor said.

United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust agreed to pay a six-figure compensation sum to Mrs Burnett and today said lessons had been learnt.

Mrs Burnett’s solicitor, Sally-Anne Robinson, of Lincoln-based law firm Langleys, said Mr Burnett had gone to hospital on 4 June  2005, complaining of chest pains, then had died on 6 June.

She said the 49-year-old had a family history of heart disease and the condition should have been ruled out before he was released.

She said: “They did one ECG on him. They were told it was reported as normal but often when people have a heart problem it may not show up with the first ECG.

“Our case was that before they let him home they should have excluded a cardiac cause for the pain, which involves a second ECG. Basically, he should have been kept in.”

She said instead he had been discharged and told to take over-the-counter indigestion medication.

Copyright PA Business 2008

United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust