Belfast Telegraph

Armagh heart attack victim Denis Doran was told chest pains due to hernia, inquest hears

Denis Doran died of a heart attack
Denis Doran died of a heart attack

By Gillian Halliday

A Co Armagh businessman who died of a heart attack had been told his chest pains were due to a hernia condition when he was discharged from hospital two months earlier, an inquest has heard.

Married father-of-two Denis Doran - known as Danny - died aged 57 on November 19, 2016.

He ran a dry cleaning business in Lurgan but was also well known as a singer who performed in venues across Northern Ireland.

At the opening of an inquest into Mr Doran's death at Armagh Courthouse yesterday, Coroner Patrick McGurgan heard the business owner had been admitted as an in-patient to Craigavon Area Hospital on August 29 that year.

He had been transferred to an acute medical unit (AMU) after attending the hospital's accident and emergency department hours earlier complaining of chest pains.

The following day he was discharged from the ward after tests.

His medical notes said the chest pains had been caused by a hiatus hernia, a condition which causes the stomach to squeeze into the chest via an opening in the diaphragm.

Dr Cathy Cunningham, who was on duty the evening of Mr Doran's admittance to the AMU, called the hernia diagnosis "surprising".

"I didn't think it was a hiatus hernia, I thought it was angina," she said.

The doctor, who was off-duty when Mr Doran was discharged, also stressed that test results had not provided enough evidence to show he had suffered from a heart attack.

She also anticipated that Mr Doran - who had been diagnosed with a hernia 17 years earlier - would have been referred to a cardiologist, either while in hospital or following discharge, the inquest heard.

Earlier Mr Doran's wife Yvonne, who was one of several family members at the inquest, told the coroner that her husband had been suffering from chest pains for around two months before his hospital visit.

"It was always during exercise or (any form of) exertion," she said.

Mrs Doran also explained that her husband had informed her via a phone call that he had been due to undergo a procedure which would examine his arteries.

However, he told his wife that it was no longer necessary as his heart was "perfectly normal", Mrs Doran recalled.

The inquest also heard that Mr Doran, whose family had a history of heart problems, had been put on an 11-week waiting list to attend the Rapid Chest Pain Clinic at Craigavon Hospital.

This had been made after he was discharged from the ward after two visits to his GP surgery, one of which was arranged prior to his hospital admission.

Dr Martin Stewart said yesterday that he made the referral because he suspected Mr Doran had been suffering from a form of angina.

He also added his understanding was that any patient on such a referral would have been seen by the clinic within "four to six weeks".

At hearing.

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