Runner with misdiagnosed broken leg died in surgery

Sarah-Jayne and Steven Roche Image copyright Wales News Service
Image caption Sarah-Jayne and Steven Roche started the half marathon together

A woman who broke her leg without realising while running the Cardiff Half Marathon died during surgery to repair it, an inquest has heard.

Sarah-Jayne Roche, 39, from Pontypridd, Rhondda Cynon Taff, pulled out of the run in October 2018 with what was diagnosed as a hamstring injury.

She had fractured a femur but went to hospital three times before it was diagnosed.

She had a cardiac arrest 12 days after the race, during surgery, and died.

Ms Roche, a learning support assistant at Treorchy Comprehensive in Rhondda, had two sons aged 12 and eight.

Pontypridd Coroners’ Court heard she had entered the race with her husband Steven to raise money for Parkinson’s disease research after her father was diagnosed with the illness.

Seven miles into the run on 7 October, she felt a “shooting pain up her leg”, and pulled out of the race.

St John Ambulance volunteers diagnosed a pulled hamstring but she went to the Royal Glamorgan Hospital because of the pain.

Image copyright Wales News Service
Image caption Sarah-Jayne Roche was running to raise money for Parkinson’s disease research

Mr Roche told the inquest: “She was in a wheelchair in very considerable pain. She was advised to rest up and take paracetamol and ibuprofen.

“She was seen by a consultant for no more than 20 minutes. There was no mention of an X-ray.”

He took Ms Roche back to hospital the next day when the pain became worse. Two doctors advised stronger painkillers and a hot water bottle.

“There was no discussion about an X-Ray; their conclusion was there was not much else to do. They believed it was a hamstring injury,” Mr Roche said.

The inquest heard Ms Roche spent the following days in bed, her leg and foot had swollen and her foot was cold to touch.

Ms Roche was admitted to the same hospital by ambulance a week later in “absolute agony”.

Her husband continued: “It frightened me. She was in so much pain they had to cut trousers off. Her leg was twice its normal size. They said they would carry out an X-ray. The doctor expressed his surprise that there hadn’t been an X-ray.”

Ms Roche’s mother, Patricia Newman, told the hearing she had told one of the doctors who examined her daughter that her leg was swollen, adding: “He did not carry out a physical examination. In his opinion it didn’t warrant an X-Ray.”

Two other runners died during the 2018 Cardiff Half Marathon.

The inquest, which is expected to last two days, continues.



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