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A&E sends pensioner home with collapsed lung and cracked ribs

12:00 30 May 2014

The Whittington Hospital is to launch an investigation after a pensioner was sent home by A&E doctors who failed to notice she had four cracked ribs, a broken collarbone and a collapsed lung.

The hospital has apologised for its treatment of Nora Daly, who was taken to the Whittington by paramedics after being found lying on the floor and screaming in pain, having suffered a fall.

Despite arriving in serious pain at the hospital in Magdala Avenue, Archway, the 68-year-old’s family say she was given no X-rays or blood tests and told she could go home.

But this was to prove an astonishing oversight when she was examined the next day by doctors at the Royal Free Hospital in Hampstead.

Daughter Louise Daly said: “I went to pick her up from the Whittington to take her home and was surprised to find they didn’t X-ray her.

“My parents didn’t seem to have been given much information, so I assumed it must just be bruising.

“But that evening she was in a lot of pain and couldn’t even lie down to sleep.

“The following day I stepped out to run some errands and when I came back one of my mum’s friends visiting her had called the ambulance because she was struggling to even breathe. It’s lucky she did.”

‘Lackadaisical’

This time she was X-rayed at the Royal Free’s A&E department, which found four cracked ribs, a broken collarbone and a collapsed lung.

Doctors also realised she had a pre-existing pneumonia infection and told her to stay in hospital until treated.

Nora described her assessment at the Whittington as “lackadaisical” while husband Patrick Daly, 73, branded it “cursory”.

The difference in treatment between the two NHS A&E departments left their daughter “shocked”.

“My mother’s recovering from a stroke, fighting pneumonia, is old and frail – and they pushed her out the door without the most basic care,” she said.

“Is this how we treat our most vulnerable people?

“You hear the horror stories about the NHS all the time, but it still blows your mind when your loved ones are the victims of this kind of incompetence.”

A Whittington spokesman said: “We are deeply sorry to hear that Mrs Daly and her family are upset with the care received in our emergency department.

“We will be launching an investigation into the circumstances surrounding Mrs Daly’s care.”

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