Mum dies from broken leg in marathon when docs ‘mistook it for pulled hamstring’
A mum died after running a half marathon when doctors misdiagnosed her broken leg as a pulled hamstring, an inquest heard today.
Mum-of-two Sarah-Jayne Roche, 39, was turned away from hospital three times and later died from a suspected heart attack 12 days after the race.
An inquest in Pontypridd heard the school worker developed blood clots in her arteries because the undiagnosed broken leg had left her immobile.
Sarah-Jayne, who had two sons aged 12 and eight, was running to raise money for Parkinson's Disease after her father Alan was diagnosed with the illness.
At the seven-mile point in the race with her husband Steven, 42, she felt "a shooting pain up her leg" and came to a halt.
She was checked over by St John's ambulance workers who diagnosed a pulled hamstring. In the following days, she was taken to A&E three times by her family in "excruciating pain".
On the first visit to hospital – the day of the race on October 7 last year – Sarah-Jayne was told to "apply some ice and take ibuprofen and paracetamol".
Husband Steven said: "She found it very difficult to get it in and out of the car and she needed a wheelchair."
The following day she visited again and was prescribed stronger painkillers and told to "try a hot water bottle" instead of ice.
Steven said: "The doctor was asking her to move the leg but she was excruciating pain at that point. She was very distressed. He then decided he was going to get a second opinion."
The inquest heard another doctor came into the room but only suggested a hot water bottle and stronger painkillers.
Steven said: "She didn't really suggest any other examination. The doctor's conclusion was 'There is not much else I can do,' or words to that effect."
Sarah-Jayne spent the following days in bed and had to shuffle upstairs sitting down.
The inquest heard her leg and foot had swollen and her foot was cold to touch.
She was seen at an arranged appointment on October 12 and referred for physio.
But on October 16 Sarah-Jayne was taken to hospital in in "absolute agony."
Steven, of Beddau, near Pontypridd, said: "It was concerning. At the end of the day we were advised this was a hamstring injury. It frightened me."
The inquest heard Sarah-Jayne's leg was now twice its usual size. She spent three days in hospital before she died on October 19 from the suspected cardiac arrest.
The inquest heard she was not sent for an X-ray until her final visit to A&E – when deep vein thrombosis had already set in.
Dr Tim Manfield saw Sarah-Jayne at a soft tissue appointment on October 12 in the Royal Glamorgan Hospital at Llantrisant, near Cardiff.
But he did not send her for an X-ray despite her family's concerns that her leg was "freezing cold."
The inquest heard Dr Manfield wrote in his notes that he had examined Sarah-Jayne and she had tenderness and pain in her quadriceps.
But her mum Patricia Newman claims the doctor did not carry out a physical examination of her daughter.
She said: "He wasn't concerned. In his opinion it didn't warrant an X-ray.
"I know he did not touch her. I really don't know where that is coming from."
The inquest heard Sarah-Jayne's dad Alan Newman stood behind a curtain during the appointment.
He said: "I remember my wife telling the doctor her leg was freezing cold.
"The doctor said 'I'm not concerned about that, she's immobile." The inquest heard husband Steven later text his wife asking how the appointment had gone.
Sarah-Jayne replied: "He didn't do anything apart from suggest I had physio."
The inquest heard Dr Manfield recorded no signs of the development of DVT at that appointment.
A post-mortem examination found Sarah-Jayne had a blood clot in the right coronary artery, a clot in the left calf and femoral vein.
Her medical cause of death was pulmonary embolism with deep vein thrombosis and a fractured femur.
The inquest heard immobility was a significant factor in the development of "fairly large" blood clots.
The inquest in Pontypridd continues and is expected to last two days.
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