Mark White with his children Matthew (12) and Emily (11) is taking legal action against Queensland Health.
Mark White with his children Matthew (12) and Emily (11) is taking legal action against Queensland Health. Vicki Wood

Widower to sue Queensland Health

A WIDOWED father of two has launched legal action against Queensland Health claiming his wife's death was caused by a failure to diagnose coronary heart disease.

Mark White told the Daily his wife of 17 years Alana was informed by emergency department doctors her four-day chest pains were "muscular", and sent home.

Less than one month later, on November 20, 2010, the 46-year-old died in a caravan park from a heart attack.

The Caboolture-based family was living temporarily in Mackay while Mark completed a plastering job.

It will be alleged in the legal claim being made by law firm Maurice Blackburn when Alana presented to Mackay Base Hospital on October 26, 2010, she reported a strong family history of heart disease.

She told doctors she had sharp chest and shoulder pain, exacerbated by deep breathing which sometimes occurred with rest, and sometimes with walking.

The doctor sent her for tests that included an electrocardiogram.

It will be alleged that the ECG was misinterpreted. And also that Alana should have been admitted to the coronary care unit for monitoring, medication therapy and surgery within 48 hours.

The allegation by Maurice Blackburn is the diagnosis of Wellens' Syndrome and high risk acute coronary syndrome was missed.

Alana had gone to a GP in Mackay the day prior to going to hospital.

The GP was concerned and offered to call an ambulance but she elected to make her own way there.

Mark said he believed it should be policy that the readings of ECGs should be double checked.

The legal claim alleges Alana was told to follow-up with her GP in relation to her blood pressure and to check blood fats.

Mark said he was unaware of any further requests from Queensland Health for his wife to return to the hospital for follow-up treatment. .

He said his wife did not want to look like an idiot returning to hospital when the pain persisted and was planning to see a Caboolture doctor.

The coroner reviewing Alana's death has not requested an inquest.

Mackay Health Service District CEO Kerry McGovern said it would be inappropriate to comment as it was the subject of legal action.