The family of popular singer Denis Doran, who died after a massive heart attack two years ago, is devastated after an independent report queried the standard of hospital care he received.
The family solicitor said: “Independent medical evidence, obtained by the Coroner as part of the Inquest, indicates that not only was the care substandard, but that the death was as a consequence of the substandard care.”
Denis’ brother Mel said: “We are devastated. His wife Yvonne is heartbroken. We’ve lost a brother, a father and a husband.
“Last Tuesday when we got this report, his daughter broke down in tears.
“He should be alive with us today,” said Mel. “We want answers.”
A popular figure in Lurgan, Denis, who was just 57-years-old when he died, ran a dry cleaning business but had been better known as a singer playing in pubs, clubs and hotels across the county.
Family solicitor Patrick Mullarkey of O’Reilly Stewart Solicitors, Belfast issued a statement ahead of the inquest (to take place in April).
He said: “Mr Doran died on 19th November 2016 aged 57 due to a heart attack. There was a known family history of cardiac problems. Denis had recognised risk factors.
“At the end of August 2016 he became acutely unwell necessitating admission to Craigavon Area Hospital.
“There he received substandard care in that his cardiac condition was not recognised.
“As a consequence of same he was not referred to the Rapid Onset Chest Pain Clinic.
“There was a further opportunity for review when his General Practitioner referred him again in and around 22nd September 2016.
“The protocol for care stipulates that the patient ought to have been seen, on either of these occasions, within a two week period. He was not.”
The solicitor added: “Ultimately an appointment was offered for 24th November 2016. That appointment was communicated by letter dated 4th October 2016. So, rather than being seen within a period of two weeks, the appointment he was offered was some eleven and a half weeks after the date of his initial presentation. He died in the interim on 19th November 2016.
“O’Reilly Stewart Solicitors are now in receipt of independent medical evidence, obtained by the Coroner as part of the Inquest, which indicates that not only was the care substandard, but that the death was as a consequence of the substandard care.
“Had his condition been appropriately recognised, he could have been treated and his death would have been avoided.
“There is in addition to the individual failings in this case, a wider public interest.
“It appears that the reason why Mr Doran was not reviewed within the two week period stipulated by the Trust was because of a lack of resources within the Trust, and in particular allocated to the Chest Pain Clinic.
“The serious adverse incident investigation conducted by the Trust admitted that the Department was short staffed.
“Whilst an additional member of staff has been appointed since, it is unclear whether this has resolved the issues affecting the assessment of patients.
“Quite clearly the resources were not allocated at the time of Mr Doran’s referral and questions must arise as to what the Trust knew, when, and what affect this has had upon the general level of service offered to the population served by the Southern Trust.
“These issues will be of interest at the time of the forthcoming Inquest.”
When asked to respond to the questions surrounding Mr Doran’s death, highlighted by the family solicitor, a spokesperson for the Southern Health Trust said:
“As Mr Doran’s death is the subject of a future coroner’s inquest, it would be entirely inappropriate to make any comment at this time. The Trust will be participating fully in the inquest process.”
When asked if the Trust could reassure the public if this service is adequate and safe, a spokesperson responded: “As this is an on-going legal matter, The Trust is not in a position to comment further at this time.”
The family have asked that if anyone has any queries to contact O’Reilly Stewart Solicitors on 028 9032 1000.