A couple returned from a shopping trip to find the builder who had been working on their property dead in the driveway. Alper Guler had been to the GP two days earlier, complaining of left-sided chest pain and breathlessness.
The Turkish-born 41-year-old man died on May 7 in the driveway of a house in Blackpool, reports Lancs Live.
However, despite Alper reporting he had been experiencing chest pain for a couple of years, the doctor thought he was suffering from heartburn and prescribed indigestion medication after Alper suggested he noticed the pain more after eating spring onions.
Two days later, he suffered a massive heart attack and died.
An inquest at Blackpool Town Hall this week heard from Dr Sameer Shaktawat, the pathologist who conducted a post-mortem after Alper’s death.
He found scarring on the walls of the left ventricle of the heart which indicated Alper had suffered at least three previous heart attacks.
“One of the arteries supplying blood to the heart showed extensive narrowing,” the pathologist said. “It was very blocked and he had a massive heart attack.
“This isn’t the heart you would expect to find in a 41-year-old man. There were a lot of blockages and evidence of previous cardiac events.”
The inquest heard that although Alper, a smoker, was slightly overweight, he was not obese and the pathologist advised that Alper’s family, who had flown over from Turkey for the inquest, should get themselves checked out for any genetic heart conditions.
On the morning of May 5, two days before he died, Alper called his GP at the Arnold Medical Centre in St Anne’s Road.
After describing his symptoms of left-sided chest pain when walking and difficulty breathing Dr Parvathi Shajil asked Alper to come into the surgery.
Alper, of Egerton Road, also reported pain in his left arm but Dr Shajil said she “interpreted these as two different sources of pain”.
She arranged for him to have a chest x-ray within a few weeks and sent him home with medication for heartburn.
Assistant Coroner Patrick Cassidy repeatedly asked the doctor why she had not considered the pain related to Alper’s heart given that he had been experiencing it for some time.
“Both myself and the family would like an explanation of why you sent him for a chest x-ray,” he added.
“Mr Guler did voice worries about cancer but I did say I wasn’t concerned about that,” Dr Shajil said.
“The symptoms were, to me, more suggestive of gastrointestinal problems.
“He described a burning pain in his chest and the only thing he could link it to was that it came on when he ate spring onions.”
Alper’s family, speaking through a friend who translated proceedings for them, asked Dr Shajil if she deemed him to be a hypochondriac. “Absolutely not,” she replied.
The coroner is expected to publish his conclusion today.