The son of an 82-year-old man who was sent home from the South West Acute Hospital (SWAH) with an undiagnosed broken hip has called the situation “a nail in the coffin of a dying system”.

Fermanagh man James McDonagh (82) was brought to the SWAH in Enniskillen by ambulance on Monday, March 6, after experiencing a fall at the Three Rivers Care Home in Omagh.

Speaking to The Impartial Reporter, James’ son, Paul, explained that his father received blood tests, scans and x-rays whilst at the hospital.

“Then he got a bit of a temperature and they kept him overnight,” he said, noting that his father was then “dispatched back” to the nursing home on Tuesday, March 7.

“At the nursing home, my father was complaining. He would be coherent sometimes, and non-coherent others, but he was complaining about pain in his leg, and they [the nursing home staff] didn’t like the look of him,” said Paul, adding: “They classed him as not being back to base level, when they examined him in the nursing home.

“So they rang back to the hospital, and the hospital told them it was arthritic pain and it will pass.”

Paul went on to tell this newspaper that on Wednesday, March 8, the nursing home received a call from the consultant at the SWAH.

“They [said] they were looking over the x-rays again, and [James] had actually broken his hip.

“Whoever looked at his x-rays on Monday didn’t pick it up. It wasn’t picked up until Wednesday,” claimed Paul, airing his anger that his elderly father had “no pain relief whatsoever” for the days where his hip had been broken but was not diagnosed.

“When I rang the hospital [on Wednesday night], they said he was sent back to the nursing home on review of his x-rays, but speaking to the nursing home on [Thursday], they more or less write down everything they were told by the hospital, and there’s no mention of him being let back [home] on review of x-rays.

“And why, in the name of God, would you let an 82-year-old man home with a suspicion of a broken hip?” said Paul, adding: “It’s just ridiculous – it’s a nail in the coffin of a dying system.”

On the NHS website, it states: “A broken hip (hip fracture) is serious and needs treatment in hospital straight away. It can take several weeks or months to recover, and you may not get back the same strength and movement you had before.”

The Impartial Reporter asked the Western Health and Social Care Trust if it is investigating how SWAH staff missed the fact that James had a broken hip on his visit to the hospital on Monday, March 6, and what assessments patients are given before the decision is made for them to be discharged.

In response, a Trust spokesperson said: “These concerns have been shared with the relevant Clinical teams; however, due to patient/client confidentiality, we are unable to respond to individual cases