THE family of a man who died from a heart attack two weeks ago is claiming his chest pain was misdiagnosed hours before his death.
Alan Mahabir, 42, was allegedly prescribed a medication for acid reflux disease at the Couva District Hospital on the morning of March 9. By afternoon, he was dead, after being rushed to the Augustus Long Hospital in Pointe-a-Pierre.
An autopsy found that Mahabir, who had no history of chronic disease, died from a massive heart attack.
Mahabir's family asked that Health Minister Dr Fuad Khan and hospital officials conduct a thorough investigation.
Chairman of the South West Regional Health Authority Dr Lackram Bodoe expressed condolences to Mahabir's family and said he would assist in the hospital investigation.
Mahabir, a construction worker with CBE Trinidad Ltd, lived at Duncan Village, San Fernando, and was the father of two teenagers.
The dead man's brother, Andy Mahabir, 46, said his brother began experiencing chest pains at his workplace at Savonetta, Point Lisas, and co-workers carried him to the Couva hospital.
Andy said he got a phone call around 9 a.m. that his brother was at the hospital, and immediately responded.
Upon arrival at the hospital, doctors told Andy his brother was "good and doing well".
Andy was allowed to speak to his brother who told him he was experiencing chest pains.
Around 10.30 a.m., Alan was discharged and given a prescription for Nexium tablets—a drug commonly used for acid reflux.
Family members said that on the way home, Mahabir suddenly stopped speaking and they realised he was in trouble. He was rushed to the nearest hospital, Augustus Long Hospital.
Andy said Alan was treated immediately by hospital officials who told relatives to wait outside.
Around 11.40 a.m., a doctor informed the family that "he did not make it".
An autopsy conducted at the San Fernando General Hospital last Tuesday confirmed Alan died as a result of a heart attack.
He was cremated the following day.
Andy said the family intended to make a formal complaint to the South West Regional Health Authority (SWRHA) under whose authority the Couva district health facility falls.
He said, "We need to get justice out of this. That was pure negligence. They treated him for acid reflux, not chest pains.They did not keep him for observation or further tests. If they did, he might have been alive today."
The family is considering taking legal action.
Relatives described Alan as kind, friendly and hardworking.
Andy said, "It could happen to anybody and we don't want anybody to go through this procedure again."
Dr Bodoe said, "I am sorry to hear what happened but if they lodge a formal complaint, I will be happy to help with an investigation. That is all I can really say at this point in time."