Jessica Porter was just 11 when her beloved dad, Allan, died.
Despite being only 32, the hospital he was treated at insisted he was killed by a heart attack – a diagnosis backed up by his original post-mortem.
But his family never accepted this and launched an almost decade long campaign for the truth.
Now, nine years after his tragic death, a coroner has ruled he died as the result of hospital neglect and the findings of an original post-mortem into his death have been overturned at an inquest.
As a result of his family’s campaign for justice, the deaths of 25 other patients will now be reviewed.
The doctor who carried out the post-mortem has since been sacked and a full investigation is launched.
In a second victory for the family, the coroner also ruled Allan’s death was contributed to by neglect.
His daughter, Jessica and family members were praised by the coroner for their “strength” and “persistence” during a near-decade-long battle for the truth over how he died.
Jessica, 20, says: “It has taken us nine long years to get justice for my dad. We have been unable to move on.
“It was shocking firstly to find out that the post-mortem result was wrong and secondly to discover that dad died from neglect.
“But it is a real comfort to know that 25 other families will be helped as a result of our quest.
“This is about dad – but it will impact so many other people.
“Something positive has come from his death.”
Allan, from Heywood, Greater Manchester, had separated from his wife, Elaine, shortly before his death.
But he still had regular contact with Jessica and her brother, Dale, now 18.
Allan had met a new partner and she was expecting his baby.
Jessica said: “Dad was very loving, he was supportive and strong. He idolised his kids.
“He was a singer, performing around pubs and clubs, and I’ve grown up to do the same. Every time I sing, I think of him.”
In January 2010, Allan went to Fairfield General Hospital in Bury, complaining of a severely sore throat .
He was unable to swallow, had a temperature above 39C and a pulse rate of 140, but he was given paracetamol and sent home with antibiotics.
Around seven hours later he collapsed at home, unable to breathe.
He was pronounced dead shortly after arriving back at hospital at around 9.30pm. He was 32 years old.
A post-mortem carried out by Dr Khalid Ahmed ruled he died of a heart attack caused by heart disease.
In his report he claimed his heart had showed “age related changes” and that his nose, throat and airway were “normal.”
Jessica says: “I was only 11 when dad died and I was heartbroken.
“Mum was at the hospital all night and I knew something was wrong.
“When she came home the next morning, I asked her if dad was dead before she even said the words. I just sensed it.
“I spoke at his funeral, with a reading I had written myself. We played a recording of dad singing too.
“As I got older, I began to worry that I might have a heart attack too, that maybe he had a genetic heart problem. I became very anxious.”
When Jessica was 18, and studying law at university, she applied for the records surrounding her father’s death.
Jessica, from Bury, says: “My mum always said she never believed the post-mortem report. It got me thinking. And I so I decided to start my own investigation.
“I was appalled by what I found.
“Firstly, I couldn’t believe the hospital had sent him home when he was clearly so ill. Secondly, I couldn’t accept the post-mortem result.”
The family commissioned their own experts who all said they thought the post-mortem conclusion was wrong.
An inquest at the end of May into Allan’s death vindicated their claims.
Allan’s family sobbed in court as Coroner Joanne Kearsley overturned the original medical cause of death finding, saying it was “wholly inconsistent” with how he had presented at hospital and when paramedics began treating him.
“Having carefully considered all of the evidence in this case I am not satisfied on the balance of probabilities that the cause of Mr Porter’s death can be attributed to that as described by Dr Ahmed in the post mortem report,” Ms Kearsley added.
“The findings by Dr Ahmed on the post-mortem examination are wholly inconsistent with the clinical presentation.”
Dr Ahmed carried out 1,351 private postmortems.
The coroner also ruled Allan’s death was contributed to by neglect.
The coroner said a full set of observations should have been carried out and medics should have checked he was able to swallow before releasing him.
She said if this had have been done he would have been kept in hospital and that if he had been in a hospital setting when his condition deteriorated his death “could have been avoided.”
The coroner said: “I find Mr Porter should have remained in hospital with further observations being conducted until it was confirmed he was not acutely unwell.”
She recorded a conclusion that he had in fact died of a naturally occurring infection contributed to by neglect.
Pennine Acute NHS Trust which runs Fairfield Hospital has accepted their failings in the case, insisting wide-ranging changes have now been made and they have apologised to the family.
And in emotional scenes at the inquest’s conclusion Ms Kearsley told the family: “Throughout this you have been incredibly strong, incredibly patient and incredibly determined in your search for the truth for Alan.
“Today is about him. He has never been forgotten. And I am sure he would be immensely proud of every single one for you.
“His death has made a difference. Not only in the changes that have been put in place at the hospital, but also to the other families because without your persistence some of these findings may never have come to light.
“It may be of very little comfort to you but I hope it is of some comfort.”
Paul Downes, Director of Patient Safety and Professional Standards at the Northern Care Alliance NHS Group, said: “We fully accept the Coroner’s conclusion and would like to offer our sincere condolences to Allan Porter’s family for their loss; our heartfelt sympathy goes out to them.
“Mr Porter attended Fairfield General Hospital in Bury, part of The Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, and sadly died on 3 January 2010.
“Concerns were first raised about Mr Porter’s death by the Coroner who contacted the Trust in May 2017.”