A WOMAN was sent home in agony with painkillers from a health centre after medics failed to spot she had broken her leg.
Catherine Reece, 61, went to One Life Hartlepool after falling over near her home in the West View area of Hartlepool.
But medics at the Park Road-based centre gave her a brief examination and sent her home with anti-inflammatory tablets.
After walking around in excruciating pain for the next three weeks, Catherine went herself to the x-ray unit at the University Hospital of Hartlepool and was stunned to be told she had broken her thigh bone, near to her hip joint.
She then needed surgery to replace her hip, but claimed specialists told her she could have avoided the operation had her initial injury been diagnosed sooner.
She said: “I can’t believe they never spotted this. I should have been given an x-ray.
“It’s a miracle how I have basically been walking round with a broken thigh.
“I was told if it was caught sooner, all they would have done was put a plate in.
“But the healing process had already started so I had to have my hip replaced.”
Catherine, who lives in Davison Drive, is now taking legal advice.
Her ordeal started when she fell awkwardly in West View Road around lunchtime on February 8 and immediately knew something was wrong.
A Good Samaritan and two of Catherine’s friends who were passing helped her up and arranged for her to be given a lift to One Life.
Retired barmaid Catherine added: “I filled a form in and they said ‘go through’, but I said I couldn’t walk, so they got me a wheelchair and pushed me to the minor injury unit.
“They examined me and gave me Ibuprofen. There was no mention of going to see my own GP or getting an x-ray.
“It’s beyond a joke, I shouldn’t be like this.
After being sent home from One Life, Catherine endured excruciating pain and visited her own doctor, who upped the strength of her painkillers but said an ultrasound would take six weeks.
So on Thursday, February 28, she visited the x-ray unit at the University Hospital of Hartlepool.
She said: “The member of staff took an x-ray and shouted to colleagues ‘can I have help to turn somebody round, I’ve got a fractured femur case.”
Catherine ended up being transferred by ambulance to the University Hospital of North Tees, in Stockton, where her hip was replaced.
“I was thinking I just needed stronger painkillers, but I ended up having my hip replaced,” she added.
Catherine was previously fit and active, but is going to be out of action for a further four weeks and is using a Zimmer frame to get around.
Ali Wilson, chief officer of NHS Hartlepool and Stockton-on-Tees Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “We are concerned about the distress the incident has caused Ms Reece.
“We are looking into the issues that have been raised with the provider and would welcome the opportunity to discuss this with Ms Reece.”
A spokeswoman for North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Certain types of hip fracture are extremely difficult to diagnose.
“We’re pleased Ms Reece is making a good recovery and we are sorry feels let down by the care she received.
“We are keen to discuss her concerns and we will be getting in touch with her as soon as possible.”