Lost husband due to angiogram gone wrong

My husband, 54, was recommended an angiogram in December 23 as he had some chest pains when going up hill. He is a private patient here in Germany and doctors can charge three times the rate for private patients. I remember thinking oh not not that money-making business again.

My husband had had his heart checked out thoroughly the whole year as he was diagnosed with sleep apnea. My husband was convinced it was lung insufficiency causing the pains. And in fact it was only because that testing equipment did not work that day that he took the fateful ecg which led the doctor to recommend the angiogram, an apparently safe diagnostic procedure which involves inserting a catheter into the arteries and take pictures to establish a potential problem.

What happened during the angiogram is a very rare but feared complication. The catheter induced the cardiac arrest by rupturing some plaque, which would normally have stayed stable in the main heart stem if not mechanically disrupted. The doctors tried to resuscitate my husband but if a cardiac arrest occurs in that area it simply makes the blood flow impossible.

The doctor who performed the angioagram did not deliver the news well and I could tell he thought about his career. It took him eight minutes on the phone to let me know all the technical deatails - in retrospect he wanted me to ask “did my husband surive” but he was forced to tell me.

When I arrived at the hospital a mere 20 minutes later, he proceeded to give me x-rays of my husband’s heart and explained “see here how narrow this bit is”. Who wants to know when your world has just crumpled. He also said “it has only happened to me three times” and then trying to elicit all sort of other factors that could have contributed to this unexpected scenario like “your husband was a nervous and anxious man”. All in all, this was traumatising.

In the end, I had to ask for an autopsy which the public lawyers pay for if it is an unnatural death which this was. The lawyers are still debating if to press charges.

It feels so tragic that my husband has died at the hands of doctors for a procedure he did not feel was necessary but was recommended. Without that angiogram my husband would be alive today. Maybe it is similar to losing someone through an accident - it was avoidable.

Our own doctor whom we had been with for 17 years never contacted me and said how sorry he was. He knew my husband well and had done many expensive tests on him in the past. He stuck his head in the sand probably because he was the one referring my husband after he had seen an anomaly on the ecg. I did not let him off the hook and had to write to him twice asking why he had ghosted me (the tone of the letter was factual and avoided blame). He then finally wrote back, claiming he had not received my emails and lied that he had tried to call me. I am sure he has a guilty conscience.

I am not getting any answers from other doctors either. it is basically a case of “bad luck”.

I will do anything I can to find out the truth. I feel I have a right to it. My husband had just resigned from his job where he had worked for 35 years and was hoping to retire early after doing a couple of years consulting. We were building a house in France - half the structure stood when he died - and we were selling the one we lived in.

This complicates matters dealing with French tax on his part of the house/plot and a long list of various pensions having been accumulated in other countries, some of which I am not entitled to but have to fill in the paperwork. I never did the finances as he was excellent at that. I have had to start from scratch while keeping abreast with my own business. I have very little time to socialise as I am busy with the above tasks. I reckon this will take me two-three years to get sorted. The prospect is so daunting I do wonder if I want to live like that.


@Askingthewhy i am so sorry you lost your husband this way . The angiogram does have risks one of my friends lost his mum that way too . It’s a very difficult position you are in . I hope you can get some support at this very difficult time . My deepest sympathies


What a tragic position to be in. To know that your husband’s death could have been preventing is heart wrenching.
Having to deal with your business, house and doctors and lawyers is hard enough, but to do it in two countries must be especially difficult.
There is nothing any of us can say to make life easier for you, but this forum helps get things written down, that you may not or cannot discuss with other people.


It seems the medics have closed ranks against you, as you say they are protecting themselves and their careers.
What a terrible situation for you to be in, I feel for you. We all support each other here, and we are here for you.