AN IT blunder was blamed for doctors missing a woman’s fractured hip.

Joan Betteridge, from Chandler’s Ford, suffered a hip injury following a fall but this was missed during an x-ray at Royal Hampshire County Hospital in Winchester.

It was eventually discovered during another hospital admission, but during later hip replacement surgery she had a severe reaction to the bone cement used in the operation.

The 88-year-old was living at Brendoncare Knightwood Mews with Peter, her husband of 67 years, at the time of her death.

Her mobility was affected by Parkinson’s disease, and following a fall on May 31 she was sent home despite being unable to bear weight on either leg, because two doctors did not spot the fracture.

A root cause analysis report presented to Winchester Coroners Court by Divisional Director of Anaesthetics and Surgery at RHCH, Christian Wakefield revealed that the computer system used to generate follow-up reports, which act as a safety net to prevent breaks being missed, had mistakenly marked Mrs Betteridge as an inpatient, and therefore not a priority, and as such it was not received until June 12 - two days after her death.

Debbie Harwood, her daughter, said: “Staff at Brendoncare expressed surprise that Joan had been sent home from hospital. She had been advised to keep mobile but she was in so much pain it was virtually impossible.The hospital seemed desperate to send her home instead of getting to the bottom of why she was in so much pain.”

Assistant coroner Sarah Whitby however found that the missed fracture did not affect the overall outcome, as the cause of Mrs Betteridge’s death was Bone Cement Implantation Syndrome - a condition with varying degrees of severity that results in fatalities in less than 0.5% of cases.

Although the condition is not fully understood, it is thought that one serious but rare reaction to the bone cement is that bone marrow is displaced and enters the blood.

Orthopaedic surgeon Hugh Fox told the court that the operation that took place on June 10 would have been identical to the one that would have taken place if the fracture had been discovered earlier.

He added that the syndrome caused Mrs Betteridge’s heart to slow down, and enter cardiac arrest.

Dr Wakefield said Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust had taken steps to make sure that staff are properly trained on use of the X-ray reporting software, as well as a review of the system itself. Staff have also been trained on how to spot difficult breaks using Mrs Betteridge X-ray for guidance.

Ms Whitby recorded a narrative conclusion.