A PRISONER with a known history of heart problems and drug addiction was misdiagnosed by a doctor and later suffered a fatal heart attack, an inquest heard.

Michael Watson, of Oxford Road, Little Lever, died aged 35 at Salford Royal Hospital on December 12, 2010.

He had been transferred there from HMP Forest Bank following a suspected heart attack on November 10.

An inquest at Bolton Coroner’s Court was told how Mr Watson had a 20-year association with drugs, a problem which had developed into an addiction.

In 2007, he had a replacement heart valve operation. Mr Watson had been suffering from endocarditis — a heart lining inflammation — and saw Dr Alexander McCallum, a GP specialising in substance misuse who worked twice a week at Forest Bank, on June 30.

He complained of a high temperature, racing heart beat and a chest pain.

Dr McCallum noted that Mr Watson may have endocarditis, but stopped short of diagnosing the condition as he did not seem ill and had not taken drugs intravenously in three months.

He made arrangements for Mr Watson to have another appointment the next day, where a blood test could be done — he did not attend.


Mr Watson was seen by another GP, Dr Shabir Ahmed, a few weeks later, who also did not diagnose him with endocarditis, as he showed none of the main symptoms.

He wrongly assumed Mr Watson had developed a viral infection when he saw Dr McCallum, which had since gone.

The inquest heard from Dr McCallum that endocarditis is a “serious but vague” illness that “comes and goes” to a certain extent.

At the time of his conviction, Mr Watson had been in regular contact with drug counselling teams and had an appointment scheduled in October, 2010, to see a cardiologist. Forest Bank’s healthcare manager Anthony Shimelt said this appointment was cancelled as standard for security reasons, but could not explain why the assessment was not rearranged.

Pamela Watson, said her son had complained the prison did not seem to be taking his problems seriously.

“He had been saying that he was not feeling well and was generally upset about it,” she said.

“He would have told people he was unwell and he told anyone that would listen about his heart valve replacement.”

Mr Watson was first sent to Forest Bank on May 29, after being convicted for drug offences.

The hearing continues.