A man who has faced an agonising eight years with a gaping hole in his ankle fears he could lose his foot after a doctor told him “there’s nothing more we can do”.
Carl Ashby has been referred to countless specialists at Barnet General Hospital, but is no closer to getting answers about his condition.
The 48-year-old was born with club feet but after a successful operation to correct it in the 1970s, he was virtually pain free and had a normal childhood.
Around 15 years later, one of the three metal pins which had been inserted into his ankles fell out – but doctors assured him not to worry.
In 2006 the wound opened up and Mr Ashby claims the plastic surgeon he was referred to at the Royal Free Hospital was unsure how to deal with the condition.
In 2012 it got worse and he became convinced one of the other two pins which had been inserted into his foot has come loose and needs to be removed.
But Mr Ashby is now growing increasingly frustrated as despite a series of X-rays, ultrasounds and appointments, he is yet to find a solution.
He said: “I feel I am not being taken seriously. I am in excruciating agony and the uncertainty of it is emotionally draining. My skin has been completely eaten away.
“I fear I will end up losing my foot. I heard a story about a woman who died – and it was later found she’d had a metal pin in her foot like mine which had become infected.
“I told one of my doctors I wanted it operated on and in a letter he said there was nothing more he could do for me. I was shocked and incredibly upset. I just don’t know how I can be left like this.”
Mr Ashby has also been diagnosed with a vein problem, has had cellulitis on his ankle and takes ibuprofen every day in an attempt to block the pain.
He has weekly appointments at Finchley Memorial Hospital to have the wound dressed, which is only a part-time solution to the problem.
The security guard is also devastated at the thought he could end up having to leave the job he loves if his situation gets worse.
He added: “I feel people are getting fed up with me complaining all the time. My mental state is suffering and I feel depressed and unsure of my future.
“I’ve seen so many doctors – the only ward I’ve not visited is maternity. I understand the NHS is struggling, but there have to be limits.
“I don’t like to make a fuss but I’m not just speaking out for me. There must be so many others – people who don’t have a voice – in my situation or worse off. Something has got to be done for all of us.”
A statement from Barnet and Chase Farm NHS Trust said: "The Trust recognises that Mr Ashby has a number of complex health needs. Because of this he was referred for a further specialist opinion in September 2003 and reviewed in November 2013.
"Further specialist therapy was organised but Mr Ashby apparently failed to attend. The Trust would be very happy to assist Mr Ashby further. We believe that the treatment he has received from us to date has been appropriate for his needs."