THE family of a man who died after being misdiagnosed with the flu want the Sydney doctor responsible hauled before the State’s health authorities.
Barrister Richard O’Keefe told Glebe Coroners Court that computer analyst 29-year-old Samuel Seeto would still be alive today if not for Dr Bhikhubhai Patel’s incompetence when failing to recognise how gravely ill he had been.
Mr O’Keefe, representing Mr Seeto’s family, said they wanted Deputy State Coroner Teresa O’Sullivan to refer the case to the NSW Health Care Complaints Commission yesterday.
The barrister said Dr Patel’s decision to send home Mr Seeto — who had collapsed in the Chatswood Medical Centre’s waiting room minutes before seeing the doctor — after telling him to take some Nurofen tablets, was ‘‘woefully short of what was appropriate’‘.
Mr Seeto was found dead in his bed at Forestville by his father about 4pm on December 6, 2015. He had been suffering from the heart disease myocarditis.
Counsel assisting the coroner, Tracey Stevens, in her final submission, said that based on the evidence Mr Seeto would more than likely have survived if he had been properly treated.
Ms Stevens said a chest X-ray unit and an ECG (electrocardiography) machine which records the electrical activity of the heart had been available at the medical centre at the time but Dr Patel ignored the chance to use them for Mr Seeto. She said it would be open to the coroner to find Dr Patel’s eight-minute consultation had been ‘‘significantly inadequate’‘.
Dr Hester Wilson, who prepared a report for the coroner detailing her opinions on Dr Patel’s conduct, claimed alarm bells should have been ringing when the computer analyst suddenly collapsed in the waiting room after fainting the night before at home.
Dr Wilson said it was unusual for people as young as Mr Seeto to collapse and Dr Patel should have immediately been asking questions to find out what was going on.
She believed a full respiratory examination had been needed to check Mr Seeto’s vital signs.
Mr Seeto’s father Lawrence told the court Dr Patel did not ask his son any questions about the times he had collapsed or his feelings of being dizzy and cold.
Dr Patel took his son’s blood pressure, placed a stethoscope on his son’s back right shoulder on top of his rugby jumper and checked his throat before declaring he must have the flu because he was dehydrated.
Ms O’Sullivan will hand down her findings on August 21.