Village GP died after hospital failures

Dr Mark  Howard credit: Media Lincs EMN-180911-143428001
Dr Mark Howard credit: Media Lincs EMN-180911-143428001

A family GP died after staff at Lincoln County Hospital failed to diagnose he was suffering from a serious heart condition, an inquest has been told.

Dr Mark Howard, a GP in Welton, was admitted to the hospital in February after complaining of chest pains and losing consciousness.

The inquest, at Lincoln Cathedral Centre on Thursday (November 8), was told Dr Howard, 45, could not be admitted to the specialist cardiology unit because it was full.

Instead he was examined in the Medical Emergency Assessment Unit. The four clinicians who examined him were all locums and none identified he was suffering from an aortic dissection.

He was discharged and told to rest. He was not given any medication and went on to collapse and die at his home in North Carlton just days later.

His widow, Michaela Howard, told the inquest the treatment her husband received at hospital in the days before his death was 
‘DIY hospital care.’

Mrs Howard, a teacher, also described how she 
overheard one doctor at Lincoln County Hospital remark ‘You’ve no chance with cardiology, its jam packed.’

The hearing was told a post-mortem investigation gave his medical cause of death as an acute aortic dissection - 
a serious condition where 
there is a tear in the wall of the major artery carrying blood out of the heart.

Consultant cardiologist Dr Sagar Doshi, who did a report for the inquest, said he believed Dr Howard would still be alive today if a CT scan had been carried out.

Dr Doshi said Dr Howard should not have been discharged from hospital 
and concluded there was a “breach of care”.

Dr Megan Kelly, who carried out an investigation on behalf of the hospital, said: “He should have had a 
CT scan and I am sorry.”

Lincolnshire Coroner Paul Smith returned a narrative verdict. He said: “The aortic dissection was not diagnosed and as a consequence was not treated. It is more likely than not that had the diagnosis been made the necessary remedial surgery would have been successful.”