Barnsley family urges health watchdog to take action against GP

Gary Newsome
Gary Newsome
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The family of man who died of a heart attack after being told by his GP the pains were a chest infection is urging the General Medical Council to hold the doctor to account.

Gary Newsome, of Hartington Drive, Honeywell, Barnsley, died in 2011 - four days after seeing his doctor and within hours of being reassured over the phone he merely had an infection. After settling a medical negligence claim against the doctor concerned, Mr Newsome’s family are now urging the GMC to complete an investigation which has gone on for more than a year.

Mr Newsome had developed chest pain and shortness of breath in July 2011 made an appointment to see GP Dr John Harban at the Lundwood Medical Centre on Pontefract Road, Barnsley.

In the four day period before his death his condition didn’t improve and it is claimed he complained of ‘breathlessness’ and ‘pains’ in his chest.

The family claim that Mr Newsome struggled to eat, felt nauseous and that his brother commented that his skin was grey in colour and his lips were turning blue.

Mr Newsome later contacted his former partner and told her that he ‘felt terrible’ and would return to the doctors’ the following day.

Unfortunately, He was found dead at his home on July 19 2011.

A post mortem examination later revealed Mr Newsome had suffered an acute heart attack.

An inquest into his death took place in 2013 and coroner, Chris Dorries, in recorded a narrative verdict.

He said: “Mr Newsome was seen in surgery by a doctor later that afternoon.

“On the basis of expert evidence there were significant failures during this consultation.

“In consequence, Mr Newsome’s condition was not diagnosed at a time when his life was likely to be saved by hospital treatment.”

Scott Haslam, a medical negligence specialist with Raleys Solicitors, which is representing the family, said: “This was a tragedy that could have been avoided if the level of care Mr Newsome received had been better.

“When he first went to see his doctor, further questions should have been asked about his chest pains and breathlessness.
“The fact that he had no history of breathing difficulties and was – as a smoker and diabetic - at a high risk of suffering cardiac issues, should have raised more questions.”

Mr Haslam confirmed the family had contacted the GMC shortly after the inquest in 2013.

He added: “The family are strongly urging disciplinary action be taken against Dr Harban, who referred himself to the authority over Mr Newsome’s case, but they have yet to hear the results of any investigation or further action.

“We hope the General Medical Council will finally conclude its investigation now the claim has been settled.”