Widow blames hospital for death
GRIEVING widow Robyn Myles believes her husband Ian would still be alive if doctors at Toowoomba Hospital had thoroughly investigated his extreme chest pain.
Mrs Myles, who worked as an enrolled nurse at the hospital on and off for 15 years, is suing Queensland Health for what she sees as the preventable death of her 58-year-old husband.
She said her husband of nearly 35 years had been skylarking with their teenage son in the kitchen of their Crows Nest home on April 19, 2010, when he suddenly stood up and said that he had chest pain.
"By the time I had called an ambulance he had collapsed on the bed in absolute agony," Mrs Myles said.
"I thought he was having a heart attack.
"He went cold, grey and clammy."
Paramedics were called and Mr Myles was rushed to Toowoomba Hospital.
Mrs Myles dropped her two distressed teenage children at her mother's house in Cabarlah and proceeded into the hospital's emergency department.
She said a doctor asked her for brief details of what had happened and came to the conclusion it was not likely Mr Myles had suffered a heart attack.
"He reassured Ian that it wasn't his heart and said it was more than likely, to put it in layman's terms, gastritis."
However, Mrs Myles said she was sure the problem lay in her husband's heart.
"He just didn't want to hear anything I said," she said of the doctor.
She said her husband's condition had stabilised by the time he returned from a chest X-ray.
A report into Mr Myles's death by a Sydney-based emergency medicine specialist suggested it was around this time that a d-dimer blood test should have been undertaken, to rule out conditions including thoracic aortic dissection.
But the test was not conducted and Mr Myles's thoracic aortic dissection continued to bleed undiagnosed.
"Ian just loved his children," Mrs Myles said.
"He pleaded with me to go home to reassure them.
"He knew they were really distressed."
Mrs Myles agreed and left her husband to see her children, who were asleep by the time she arrived where they were staying.
She said her husband was sent to a ward where the thoracic aortic dissection which had caused him the initial intense pain was slowly killing him.
Mr Myles died about 9am the next day from complications caused by the condition.
"The doctor explained a catastrophic event had occurred.
"So basically, they practically said 'we would not have been able to pick this condition up'."
However, she believes doctors missed opportunities to diagnose his condition.
"I regret going home instead of staying there with him.
"We did everything right and sent him to a hospital.
"They have a duty of care to find out what is wrong."
Mrs Myles said her husband's death had turned her life upside down.
"We were a close, happy family and now we have nothing left."
"I am speaking out so no family has to go through what my family has gone through."
A Queensland Health spokeswoman said Mr Myles's death was subject to review by the coroner.
"The coroner found that the treatment was appropriate and that the hospital treating team did all they could for this patient," she said.
"Toowoomba Hospital would like to again extend their sympathies to Mrs Myles on the loss of her husband."