Doctors missed Llanelli man's broken neck after assault

Darren Langabeer
Image caption Darren Langabeer carried on working as a landscape gardener without realising he had a broken neck

A health board is investigating after a medical examination and scans failed to detect a broken neck.

Darren Langabeer, 40, of Llanelli, Carmarthenshire, was injured during an assault and went to Glangwili hospital in Carmarthen, when pain in his neck got worse.

He was told he had a trapped nerve and was prescribed pain killers.

On returning to hospital five days later, he was told he had broken his neck and was lucky to be walking.

Hywel Dda Local Health Board said a full investigation is ongoing.

Mr Langabeer, a landscape gardener, was taken to hospital after he was assaulted outside shops in Llanelli.

He was taken to Glangwili hospital where he was given medical scans and sent home eight hours later with painkillers for a trapped nerve.

Mr Langabeer said he got on with his job until the pain got too bad to work.

He returned to the hospital with pins and needles and numbness in his arms.

The father-of-three was told he had a broken neck and needed immediate treatment.

"The doctor told me I could have been paralysed. They said I was lucky to be walking," he told the Llanelli Star newspaper.

"They rushed me straight to the spinal unit in Cardiff and I had to have an operation to fix my neck.

"I'm only 40, and with a young family I was really scared to death. I could have been left in a wheelchair for the rest of my life - how would my family cope?"

Mr Langabeer spent a week recovering at the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff, and has been told he cannot work or drive for at least three months.

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