Buller mayor kept walking on broken leg

By Lee Scanlon of the Westport News

File photo / Thinkstock
File photo / Thinkstock

Buller Mayor Pat McManus spent eight days walking on a broken leg, thinking he had a twisted ankle.

Mr McManus slipped on June 20, as he strode down his front lawn to pick up the morning paper.

"My right foot went straight out from underneath me."

He hobbled around until the following Monday. By then his leg was black and blue from the knee to his toes.

He went to his GP, and between them they decided he had a twisted ankle. Two days later he made it through a nine-hour council meeting - the longest and probably most controversial council meeting this year. "I was in agony by the time I got home."

He went back to his doctor the next day and was sent for an x-ray. It showed his fibula was fractured just above the ankle.

"I said, 'bulls**t, it can't be, I'm walking on it'."

He is still amused that as soon as he knew his leg was broken, his ability to walk on it evaporated. Beforehand, he had been limping up and down the stairs at council's Brougham Chambers.

Despite his protestations that he had a council meeting in half an hour, Buller Hospital staff made him stay to get his leg plastered. However, it was so swollen they could only put on a back-slab.

He returned for a full plaster the following Monday, after the swelling had receded, but it was so uncomfortable it had to be cut it off the next day.

He was referred to an orthopaedic surgeon in Greymouth.

Driven there by his son Matthew, he vomited so many times en route they considered turning back. When they arrived at Greymouth Base Hospital his pulse had dropped to 42 and his blood pressure had skyrocketed to 170/100.

He said he had recovered within about half an hour, but considering his heart condition, staff checked him out with an electrocardiogram.

He is now in plaster for a month and is relieved it's his left leg, so he can still drive a car.


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