Doctor denies wrongdoing after father-of-six’s heart attack 'misdiagnosed as asthma'

Posted On:   02 August 2017

Australia – 14th July, 2017: A heartbroken family has accused their GP of misdiagnosing their loved one's heart attack symptoms as asthma. However, the doctor claims the tragedy is not his fault.

Father of six Anthony Parnell died of heart failure on 13 October 2014, aged 32. His widow Krystal told A Current Affair he was coughing and complaining of chest pains for several days - but after visiting the doctor, he died less than 24 hours later.

Mrs Parnell said she accidentally taped her late husband's phone call after the appointment.

"He just said my chest is very, very tight," the recorded voice says. "He went and got me this inhaler, a special inhaler, only for smokers."

Mrs Parnell said the doctor, Farid Zaer, diagnosed Mr Parnell with an asthma attack. "(He's) never been asthmatic," she said.

Dr Zaer told A Current Affair he had not done anything wrong in regard to the healthcare he provided to Mr Parnell. He said it was "untrue" that he prescribed asthma treatment.

However, two years after Mr Parnell's death, a coroner found that the health care provided had contributed to his death. "This consultation represented a missed opportunity to have excluded or further investigated a cardiac cause," the coroner found.

Dr Zaer said "in hindsight" he should checked for and seen Mr Parnell's coronary artery disease. "But you don't expect coronary artery disease in a 32-year-old man," he said.

Mrs Parnell has complained to health regulations about Dr Zaer's treatment of her husband that day and has launched legal action against him.          Her solicitor John Watson said if the care had been reasonable and the investigation thorough, Mr Parnell's death would never have happened.