Pensioner flies back to UK with “bones lodged in throat” after facing 10-hour wait at Portimão Hospital

Pensioner flies back to UK with “bones lodged in throat” after facing 10-hour wait at Portimão Hospital

A 10-hour wait to see a specialist at Portimão Hospital led an 84-year-old British grandmother to fly back to the UK with “two lamb bones stuck in her throat” which could have killed her. The bones have now been brought back to Portugal by the woman’s son who intends to complain about how A&E staff in Portimão treated his mother.

“I don’t know why but the doctor was abrupt and rude. If he had taken an X-ray, they would have spotted the bones and acted on it,” Stephen Whitehorn told UK press.

“I can understand there wasn’t a throat specialist available at 10pm on a Friday, but there must have been a radiologist.”

Joan Whitehorn was operated on soon after she arrived in the UK and is recovering well, although doctors back home told her that she was “very lucky”.

The incident happened while Joan was in the Algarve last month to visit her son Stephen. They were having dinner together the night before she was due to fly back when she somehow ended up swallowing the two bones.

Her daughter Karen Beasor told papers in the UK: “It was a freak accident. We just don’t know how she swallowed them. They are the size of a lady’s little finger.

“She started gagging but could still breathe. I knew she was struggling because when we tried to get her to eat, she winced at the thought of swallowing and she’s not one to make a fuss. But we didn’t know how serious it was and mum wanted to come home instead of wait all night to be seen in Portugal.”

Karen flew back to the UK with her mother, who took an Uber to the hospital as soon as they arrived.

Doctors at Brighton’s Princess Royal University Hospital decided right away that she should be operated on to remove the bones, which had punctured her oesophagus and were sliding “dangerously” down her throat.

Luckily, Joan came through the operation and has been recovering well, having celebrated her 84th birthday recently with “scones and cream”.

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Photo: Mother and son, Joan and Stephen Whitehorn