Holiday hell for grandmother after heart attack mistaken for bad indigestion

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A grandmother has spoken of her panic after mistaking the deadly symptoms of a heart attack she was experiencing for bad indigestion.

Manchester-based mother Tina Murphy, 58, said she experienced an ache in her arm while enjoying breakfast during a trip to the Moroccan city of Marrakesh in 2019.

Initially, Ms Murphy believed the pain was heartburn, and instead of seeking medical support took “some Gaviscon and mint tea”.

However, Ms Murphy then experienced chest pain as the day continued, sparking her 54-year-old partner John into concern.

Soon after having a lie down, John told hotel staff of his worry and a doctor was dispatched.

She said: “It wasn’t until the late afternoon that the pain got worse, it was getting tighter and then the chest pain was getting worse.

“Around 4.30pm I could feel a sensation going up my neck.”

After Ms Murphy, who has three grandchildren, was assessed, an ambulance was called and the Briton was taken to hospital.

The grandmother recalled telling her partner how she thought she was “going to feel like a right fraud” when she got to the medical institution, but it soon became clear something was not right.

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When they arrived at Clinique International Marrakech, Ms Murphy’s bloods were taken, and a heart scan taken – which did not reveal exactly what was happening to her body.

Ms Murphy, who works as a community development officer, noted that soon after she experienced a severe pain in her body, which saw John alter medics once again.

She continued: “I still had no clue what was going on. They wheeled me out of the room and told my partner I was very poorly and he couldn’t come into the room.”

She added: ‘When we got in, I started to hear them all talking and they started talking about stents. At that point, I knew I was having a heart attack.”

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According to the NHS, a heart attack happens when the supply of blood to the heart is suddenly blocked, leading to symptoms such as chest pain, shortness of breath, feeling weak and anxiety.

Other signs associated with the condition include nausea and vomiting.

Chest pain – a feeling of pressure, heaviness, tightness or squeezing across your chest – is common in both men and women, while women often experience symptoms such as back or jaw pain.

Among the treatments for heart attacks is medication to dissolve clots leading to the heart, and surgery to remove the blockage.

Giving up smoking, regularly exercising and drinking in moderation can help reduce the risk of a heart attack, the British Heart Foundation reports.

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