If GPs still have to learn heart attacks are not a disease purely of men

Ten days before my mother had a heart attack, her GP – who shall remain nameless, though not blameless – told her that her increasing breathlessness was nothing to worry about although, if she developed shooting pains in her arm, she should feel free to call an ambulance.

Gee, thanks, Doc!

It was pathetic advice, and I am angry to this day about the way Mum’s symptoms were not taken seriously. When I urged her to get a second opinion, she chided me, as she always does, when her stroppy columnist daughter shows insufficient respect for people in authority: “I don’t want to go behind the doctor’s back, love.”

My mother belongs to that marvellous, staunch generation of women who rarely complain…

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