Coronation Street star Beverley Callard has been left in agony after a routine hip operation went badly wrong.
Each step she takes makes her whole body shake with excruciating pain.
She feared she would never walk again, considered getting a stairlift in her house and thought her career was over.
The actress is now “fighting for justice” after months of agony that she believes could have been avoided.
Today Bev, 63, reveals for the first time the reason for her six-month absence from screens which has left viewers puzzled.
She said: “I have been gone because it has been the worst six months of my life.
“I have been in the most excruciating pain you can imagine – like teeth grinding in my hip.
“But worse than that was the mental torture of thinking, ‘Is this the end for me?’
“I had what I thought was a routine operation, but I would never have had it if I had known the terrible consequences.
“I now believe I should never have been given the op in the first place and I am taking legal action to make sure that never happens to anyone else.”
She added: “A huge part of me thought I would never be able to return to Coronation Street – that I wouldn’t even walk again. That is how bad it has been.”
The TV landlady claims the minor keyhole surgery was a terrible mistake by the hospital that treated her. She is now suing for medical negligence.
She said: “I am fighting for my future, but also for what is right and to make sure this never happens to anyone else.”
Bev was supposed to return to the cobbles two weeks after the procedure in March. Instead, she found herself unable to even stand for months as she awaited corrective surgery.
Four months after her first operation she got a second opinion which she says told her the surgery was a mistake and should never have been carried out.
The award-winning actress, who has played Street stalwart Liz McDonald for 30 years, told how the ordeal left her housebound and unable to see family and friends.
During an emotional interview, she said: “I was in a state of shock and pain for four months.
“It has been absolute hell and it all could have been avoided. My new doctor and I both believe I should never have had the first operation.
“Now I am fighting for justice so that the hospital thinks twice before putting another patient like me in this situation. This is the worst pain I’ve ever experienced.”
Beverley underwent keyhole surgery on March 12 for a tear in her hip cartilage.
She added: “There were times when I asked myself, ‘Am I going to get better?’ I had absolutely no control over my body. I couldn’t help myself, there was nothing I could do to get better.
“I felt helpless and so did my husband Jon. He kept saying, ‘I wish I could do something to make it go away.’ There was no let-up.
“Liz is famous for mini-skirts, stockings and high heels shoes – not crutches and a mobility scooter.
“I thought I wouldn’t be able to do my job anymore.
“We were even looking at getting a stairlift to make my house more accessible. That was how far it got.”
Bev, who joined the show in 1989, announced her Coronation Street exit last year. But she revealed she had actually agreed to stay on the soap for another year before saying goodbye to Liz.
Now her return has now been put on hold until next year as she waits for doctors to sign her off.
We are not naming the hospital for legal reasons while the case is investigated.
Beverley, who lives in Manchester, is now undergoing daily physiotherapy to help her walk again.
She said: “I will do this. I shouldn’t have to, but I will.”
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