Desperate pensioner forced to undergo surgery WITHOUT anaesthetic after no bed became available

A desperate pensioner opted to undergo surgery WITHOUT anaesthetic after a hospital told him there was ‘no chance’ of getting a bed.

Chris Carter, 65, visited A&E in Belfast on Thursday with an infected cyst “the size of a tennis ball” under his armpit.

Belfast Live reports that – in desperation – he had begged for help from doctors at the Royal Victoria Hospital when the struggle to cope with the pain became too much.

And on Thursday night he sat on a chair in A&E while a senior doctor opened the cyst and removed infected tissue, before dressing the inch long wound.

Mr Carter said: “I was in the most terrible pain and I just couldn’t take it any longer. I’d had several visits to A&E at the RVH to have it seen to.

“One doctor had lanced the cyst and I was placed on a seven-day course of antibiotics. But it was no use.

“Within days I was struggling with a terrible infection and when I saw doctors at A&E on Thursday I was told I’d need surgery to have the cyst re-opened and the infection removed from it.

“I waited for 12 hours to be seen and even though my pain threshold is pretty good, I was in a bad way. I asked if there was a chance of a bed, and was told there wasn’t.”

Chris, from Bangor, said: “The pressure on beds is vast and the staff are doing their best, but the management and successive governments have failed us, the patients. They have failed the NHS .

“Staff are facing people in desperation and they have to prioritise them. They do their best but they can’t do what they need or want to do, and that’s treat everyone in the time and manner that they need to.

“I was told I could wait on a chair on the off-chance a bed became available, but was advised that I would be better to go home and come back on Friday and start the wait again.

“I knew that situation could go on and on, and I had been told earlier that there was queue for at least 30 beds, and they were likely to be more serious types of surgery than mine.”

He continued: “I felt I could cope with the pain of surgery over the pain of the infection and cyst and asked the doctors who take the cyst away there and then.

“They told me it could be done but that local anaesthetic would not touch the pain and general anaesthetic meant I’d need a bed that wasn’t available.

“I couldn’t take the pain I was in any longer and I asked them to operate on me without anaesthetic. They checked several times if I was sure. I said I was.

“I was asked to sit on a chair and the senior doctor opened the original wound from where the boil had been lanced and he worked on the area for 20 to 30 minutes. It was awful. The infection was appalling and the pain was excruciating but it improved as soon as the infection was removed.

“I was cleaned up, the wound dressed and sent on my way and I hope to make a fully recovery.”

But Chris added he is angry he felt he had to make such a choice.

He said: “I should never have to face anything like that and I should never have to put doctors in a position where they know they can’t prevent the pain and suffering of a patient because of the crisis in the NHS.

“If I could change one thing I’d ensure that every politician and senior civil servant who currently has private health care is forced to use the NHS instead, so they can see for themselves the mess that’s been created.”

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