A man who has a hole in his diaphragm causing his stomach and part of his bowels to float up into his chest claims he has been “left to die” by the NHS.
David Walker, 26, suffers from a rare congenital defect called a diaphragmatic hernia.
It means he has a “fist-sized” hole in his diaphragm which has allowed part of his bowels and stomach to go into chest – just three centimetres from his heart.
David has been battling the condition since birth and says it has left him “fighting for his life” as he suffers in excruciating pain and struggles to breathe.
David, from Motherwell, underwent surgery to repair the hole at the Golden Jubilee Hospital, Clydebank last year.
But the surgery was unsuccessful – despite the risk of the hole reoccurring being just five per cent — and was mocked by doctors at the hospital who referred to him as a “chunky chap”.
David, who says he lost five stone in four months, now claims doctors at Glasgow Royal Infirmary have refused to give him another operation until he loses more weight.
He said: “They identified the problem, had a go at fixing it and now they are saying there is nothing more they can do for me because of the ‘modifiable risk factors’.
“They have told me to go away and lose more weight, even though I have lost five stone since January, and come back in six months.
“I can’t take two steps in front of me without being out of breath so how can they expect me to go out and exercise.
“I am living a life in pain, with no help. I feel hopeless and useless.”
David has gone from 20st to 15st in just four months since January as a result of his ill-health.
His situation is now so dire that David is trying to raise £150,000 to get an operation in from top medics at John Hopkins Hospital in America.
David suffered pain for years before being properly diagnosed in 2016 with a Morgagni hernia – the least common type of Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia (CDH).
He said: “When I was younger they noticed a shadow behind my right lung through an X-ray.
“My breathing was always really bad.
“My mum noticed I couldn’t really play football and then I was in hospital because I was in a lot of pain, but they couldn’t find the cause of it.
“Since being diagnosed I have done a lot of research and spoken to people about it who are amazed I am still here.
“They say it’s a miracle I have made it to 26.
“Because my organs have gone into my chest covering my right lung, I can barely breathe at night.
“I sweat a lot, struggle for breath to finish a sentence and have no energy.”
David was referred to a cardiothoracic surgeon – someone who specialises in operating on the heart and lungs – at Golden Jubilee Hospital.
He was told the best way to fix the hole was an operation, which pulled his stomach and parts of his bowel back down to reposition them and then repair the hole.
David said: “I was in recovery for seven and a half hours, after three epidurals, basically fighting for my life.
“I was in a lot of pain after it, but they said it would just take a bit of time to clear up.
“I was told the operation was successful but then never had a follow-up appointment.
“I was looking forward to the follow-up, because I was under the impression I was getting better.
“But my symptoms were the same after the operation and I still couldn’t breathe properly.
“I will still being sick and going to the toilet about six times in the space of a morning.
“Pains would shoot from my chest, down my arm – it was excruciating.
“Six weeks went by and then I was going back to the doctor because I still wasn’t feeling right and then I collapsed again.
“It was discussed at my treatment plan prior to my surgery that I would have mesh put in to cover the hole but it was only when I got my records that I found out sutures, which are similar to stitches, were used.
“Now I have been told there has been a reoccurrence, part of my bowel has gone back into my chest, but this time it’s 3cm away from my heart.”
A spokesman at NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde said: “The patient has been advised that he currently has health factors, which can be reduced through lifestyle changes, which would currently increase the risk of a further failed surgery.
“His consultant has outlined these risks to him, and staff from the high-risk anaesthetic clinic will do the same.
“It is hoped the patient makes the suggested lifestyle changes to reduce his clinical risks in preparation for the proposed surgery.”
The Golden Jubilee National Hospital have offered David an apology after he saw a letter between two doctors where he was called a “chunky chap”
A spokesman said: “The Golden Jubilee National Hospital is dedicated to providing safe, effective and patient centred care for patients across Scotland, therefore we apologise sincerely to Mr Walker for the inappropriate use of language by a member of our medical team.
“This comment is completely unacceptable and does not meet the high standards and values we promote and expect as an organisation.
“This has been addressed directly with the Clinician involved.
“It is important that we learn and continually improve.
“Therefore, we are grateful to patients for bringing concerns to our attention and our lines of communication remain open to Mr Walker should he wish to discuss this further.”
In a bid to get the life-changing surgery David has now reached out to medics at Johns Hopkins Hospital in the USA.
He has been appointed a patient co-ordinator at the hospital to start the process who hopes to see David for an appointment next month.
He is now trying to raise £150,000 for the operation.
Readers can donate by going to https://www.gofundme.com/life-saving-operation-needed