A Marton woman says her husband died less than 12 hours after he was discharged from Whanganui Hospital and he would still be alive today if he had been kept there longer.

Allanah Anderson says her husband, Shane Anderson, was struggling to breathe on Sunday, November 25, so they drove to Whanganui Hospital's Accident and Medical Clinic (WAM). He was already suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Shane, who was 63, was seen by a doctor and kept overnight. He was given breathing support in the form of a nebuliser and the next day was sent on a shuttle home.

Allanah Anderson says the shuttle driver was concerned Shane was being sent home and commented that he didn't look well enough to be leaving.


And just hours after being home it was clear the shuttle driver was right, Shane was struggling to breathe again.

This time Allanah took her husband to a medical centre in Marton where a nurse immediately called an ambulance to have Shane taken to hospital again.

"They did some tests - this time they did an x-ray because it was a different doctor. They found he had a lung infection. He was discharged that night," Allanah Anderson said.

She was surprised Shane had only been given a prescription for antibiotics and they hadn't been administered while he was at the hospital. They planned to get the prescription filled the next morning.

Shane's breathing had improved somewhat and they went home. But, at about three o'clock in the morning he woke.

"He couldn't breathe again," Allanah said. "Obviously the nebuliser he was on, wore off. He said 'I'm just going outside to try and breathe. He came outside for a little while, came back in the bedroom. He sat on the edge of the bed."

She said his breathing suddenly turned into short, panicked pulses and he collapsed.

"I got up ... turned the light on and he was gone. I started to do CPR and I got my phone and rung 111. The ambulance came and carried on doing it [CPR]. They went way beyond what they needed to do. They knew he was gone. They pronounced him dead at four something in the morning."


Allanah is still struggling to comprehend how it all played out. She said she was certain her husband wasn't well enough to be sent home and has asked the coroner to see if Whanganui DHB can be held accountable.

"My husband would still be alive ... he'd still be alive," she said, contemplating how things could have gone differently if her husband was kept at hospital.

"We should have clicked ... that it [the nebuliser] was going to wear off. I trusted the medical profession ... I trusted that they knew what they were doing."

"I'd like the triage nurse, the doctor that discharged my husband ... to stand in front of me and say we're very sorry for your husband's loss and we accept the part we played in it because both of them did."

She said she understood her husband was not well but he had lung infections in the past and Shane was usually kept at hospital.

"Yes he had a bad heart, yes he had COPD. [But] he wasn't coughing and he was breathing fine until this happened to him. He was perfectly OK."

The Whanganui District Health Board said it wouldn't comment on Shane's death because the case was with the Coroner's office.

Allanah now keeps a box containing Shane's ashes on her bedside table - something Shane said he always wanted if he died.