Smoker who was denied surgery dies

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The Independent Online
A WIDOW whose husband died after he was refused tests at a heart unit because he was a smoker said yesterday that if he had been treated straight away he would still be alive.

Harry Elphick, 47, who had already suffered one heart attack, was initially refused tests by doctors at Wythenshawe Hospital in Manchester. The hospital does not treat heavy smokers, unless in an emergency.

Mr Elphick stopped smoking so that he could go for tests for a heart bypass operation, but died last Friday, a week before doctors at Wythenshawe were due to see him.

His widow Pat, 43, of Moston, Manchester, said: 'It shouldn't have mattered whether he smoked or not, he should have been given treatment. It is wrong and quite disgusting.'

Doctors at North Manchester General Hospital referred Mr Elphick to Wythenshawe for tests after he suffered a heart attack in February. But he was told in a letter from a consultant that the hospital did not normally perform tests on smokers.

He went back to Manchester General and gave up his 25-cigarettes-a- day habit. He was referred again to Wythenshawe for examination and was due for tests on Thursday.