A HEART attack victim lived on for more than two days after a hospital doctor told his wife and daughter he had died.

An inquest was told that the mistaken diagnosis came after attempts to revive John Friend seemed to have failed.

But the 81-year-old, of Rawcliffe, York, subsequently resumed breathing.

Mr Friend's daughter, Jacqueline Riley, told the inquest she and her mother returned to his bedside after the doctor's news and noticed her father seemed to be breathing and warm.

"My mother said: 'He is still alive. I don't think he is dead'. He looked as if he was asleep," said Mrs Riley.

Staff assured them he was not breathing and said it was the consequences of attempts at resuscitation.

But next morning, the family received a call from the hospital saying Mr Friend was indeed still alive. They returned to find he was warm and breathing, and looking as if he was asleep.

Mrs Riley said her father received "fantastic" nursing care but eventually died two-and-a-half days later.

Pathologist Dr Carl Gray said there had been no prospect of recovery and no evidence that a failure of medical care had contributed to his death.

Dr James Bailey, medical senior house officer, said he made the diagnosis that Mr Friend had died because he had stopped breathing and there was no palpable pulse.

Coroner Donald Cover-dale, recording a verdict of death by natural causes, said Mr Friend had suffered irreversible brain damage in the heart attack. He had been in a deep coma and it would not have been possible to save him, even if the wrong diagnosis had not been made.