A courageous pensioner who spent 48 uncomfortable hours with lamb chop bones lodged in her throat has thanked Princess Royal University Hospital staff for potentially saving her life.

Joan Edith Whitehorn, 84, from Bickley, flew to Portugal on June 2 with her daughter Karen to visit her son Stephen in Portugal.

During a family meal (June 7) Joan started to gag while eating pork chops. Her airways were fine, but it was later decided to take her to A&E in Portimao.

She was told she would have to stay ten hours overnight in the waiting room before an ENT specialist arrived.

The family was due back in the UK the next day and Joan decided to hop on a plane instead.

Her daughter, Karen, told News Shopper they were confident Joan had just scratched her throat and that it was nothing too ominous.

Karen and Joan arrived home on Saturday (June 8) evening and decided to go to the PRUH the next morning.

An Uber was ordered for Joan while daughter Karen went to Brighton to pick up her dog.

However, Karen was soon left "mortified" when she was informed how serious Joan’s situation was.

Joan phoned her daughter to say an x-ray discovered a bone stuck in her throat and she was waiting to see a doctor.

"I flew home as quickly as I could with the dog," Karen recalled.

"When I got home the phone was ringing, it was a staff nurse at PRUH hospital to say don’t come up to hospital because mum is being prepared for surgery to remove the bone and will be out for the count for the evening."

An hour and a half later the surgeon rang to say it was "very serious" and that the bone had perforated her oesophagus and the "tricky" operation was near her heart and lungs.

"To our amazement she came through the operation," a relieved Karen said.

"The surgeon called to say she was a very lucky lady and in all his career he had never seen a foreign body over 5cm swallowed by anyone."

News Shopper:

Joan had to be transferred to the intensive care unit for two days to recover fully.

The family contacted News Shopper after last week’s front page splash about a woman’s A&E hell in the PRUH.

READ: 'People bleeding, crying and shouting': Pensioner's 'traumatic' PRUH experience

This came after health watchdog inspectors blasted PRUH management for its "deterioration".

The Care Quality Commission concluded that Kings College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust required improvement after the worrying inspection, which criticised the overcrowded emergency department at the PRUH.

Joan’s daughter Karen and son Stephen praised their mum’s bravery and thanked the medical team who performed the operation.

Karen added: "We hear so much bad press about the NHS, let’s give them some praise, also for this amazing woman."

Joan, who has just celebrated her 84th birthday, said being in the News Shopper will make it her "best birthday ever".

News Shopper:

She insisted that her medical team gets a mention for their hard work.

Consultant Kanegaonkar, registrar Eamon Shamil and senior house officer William Wakesford helped Joan who wishes to pass on her gratitude.