A former oil worker with a “hideous” growth on his neck has told how a staggering six-year wait for surgery has cost him his girlfriend and his job.
Don Wright first consulted his GP in 2013 and was referred to a plastic surgeon, Daily Record reports .
But six years later the hemangioma – an abnormal build-up of blood vessels on or under the surface of the skin – is still there and still growing.
It is now the size of a grapefruit and is so unsightly that Don will only leave the house with a woolly hat on.
The 40-year-old, from Aberdeen, is begging the NHS to carry out the operation that would rid him of the growth.
He pleaded: “Please hurry up. I just want this nightmare over.”
Talking about how the growth has blighted his life, Don said: “I split up with my girlfriend about the same time as I lost my job.
“We had been going out for two years. She said I wasn’t the same person any more.
“I was pretty much becoming depressed, so that had a lot to do with it. We used to go out to pubs, clubs and restaurants one or twice a week. But I stopped going out… and I think she got fed up.”
The electronic technician also lost his job in the oil industry as his mood worsened due to the growth.
Don said his concentration was poorer than normal and he was fired after he made a mistake over booking a holiday.
The growth isn’t just unsightly.
Don said: “I get pains like hot needles in it and sometimes I get neck spasms. It is not good for my mental health either.
“It is hideous and getting bigger and it stinks as well.
“There are secretions coming out of it. I have had to buy so many new pillows because it leaks. The odour is horrible.
“I’ve had to wear woolly hats when I go for job interviews. I try to explain why at the interview but I haven’t got any of the jobs I have applied for.”
Don was born with a strawberry birthmark on his neck.
About 19 years ago, he decided to have it lasered off but the treatment only removed some of the redness.
In 2012, he noticed there was a growth on the site of the birthmark. When it continued to grow, he saw his GP in 2013.
He was referred to a plastic surgeon at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary but he only got to see a consultant in 2015.
Don said: “I kept going to the GP and he told me there was a mix-up over funding because they had wanted to send me to Glasgow for treatment.
“But the funding was refused so I was eventually seen in Aberdeen Royal Infirmary.”
In 2016, an embolisation – a procedure to block a blood vessel to stop bleeding or to block the flow of blood to an abnormal area of tissue – was carried out.
This was done to lessen the loss of blood when the growth was removed later.
But the subsequent operation wasn’t done and a further embolisation was carried out in November 2017.
The Scottish Government’s treatment time guarantee says a patient should have their first outpatient appointment within 12 weeks of being referred by their GP and receive treatment within 12 weeks of it being decided.
Don received a letter of apology in September saying that he would be offered a date for surgery as soon as possible. Five months on, he is still waiting to be told a date.
Labour’s health spokeswoman Monica Lennon backed Don’s plea for surgery.
She said: “It’s time the Scottish Government woke up to the distress being experienced by people stuck on NHS waiting lists.”
Lib Dem health spokesman Alex Cole-Hamilton said: “This represents the very worst extreme of the many thousands of times the legally binding waiting time guarantee is breached every week of the year.”
An NHS Grampian spokeswoman said: “We are sorry to hear about Mr Wright’s experience. It has clearly been a very frustrating time for him.
“He has been in touch with us directly to raise his concerns and we are currently investigating these. As such we cannot comment further at this stage.
“We will provide a full response to Mr Wright directly.”
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