herald

Thursday 19 October 2017

'Doctor missed my heart attack'

A DOCTOR has been accused of missing a heart attack when a patient came to him complaining of chest pains.

The Irish Medical Council is investigating the case of a British tourist who claims that he was sent home after being told that he was only suffering from high blood pressure.

However, the patient says when he went to his own GP, he was quickly informed that he had had a coronary incident.

South African physician Dr Eugene Erasmus denies he did not pay due attention to the patient's symptoms on the May bank holiday weekend last year.

He was working as the out-of-hours doctor at SouthDoc, in Skibbereen, when James Taylor attended. The IMC Fitness to Practise Committee has heard two versions of events from the men, with Dr Erasmus, claiming that Mr Taylor (62) ignored his advice to go to a hospital in Cork.

Mr Taylor, from Nottingham, alleges the doctor only told him that his blood pressure was high and gave him a prescription.

In evidence, Simon Mills, barrister for the IMC, said that Dr Erasmus worked two night shifts over the May bank holiday and it was on May 4 when Mr Taylor telephoned complaining of chest pains and outlining that he had a history of a heart attack in 1997. The tourist later attended the clinic in person but the doctor concluded that Taylor had not suffered an acute cardiac event.

However, Dr Erasmus is disputing this version. He has yet to give evidence but in letters to the Medical Council he has indicated that he advised Mr Taylor to attend hospital in Cork for an electrocardiograph (ECG), as there was no ECG machine available in Skibbereen.

Hospital

He claims the patient must have ignored this advice, but Mr Taylor says he would have gone to the hospital if told to do so. Dr Gary Stack, medical director of SouthDoc told the inquiry that there were ECG machines in all treatment centres operated by the co-op.

Dr Erasmus had originally claimed not to have seen Mr Taylor but later agreed that he had after a receipt for a consultation payment was produced.

Mr Taylor returned to Nottingham the same day that he attended the SouthDoc centre but still wanted to get a check-up from his ordinary GP.

This doctor arranged an emergency appointment and took an ECG reading which revealed that he had suffered a heart attack. The hearing continues.

kdoyle@herald.ie

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