A FATHER-of-one was shocked to find maggots in a wound on his foot less than 24 hours after the dressing was changed by a district nurse, he claims.
Noel Walker from Croesyceiliog underwent a skin graft operation on his left foot at Swansea's Morriston Hospital on Friday, July 4, and returned home with it bandaged up.
But over that weekend the wound, which is roughly five by one inches in size, started to smell unpleasant and to hurt, so he telephoned the district nurse's office to ask them to change the dressing, which they did the following Monday.
"The wound looked ok," explained Mr Walker, 44, who lives with his three-year-old son and his partner Rhoswen, and has been having operations on his foot since 1995 when he fell through scaffolding.
"But the old bandages were taken off and put on the floor, then the nurse reused them. That night I thought I felt something moving but thought I must be imagining it.
"I had shooting pains in my foot and couldn't sleep, so I called the district nurses again on Tuesday but they refused to come out as it wasn't an emergency.
"In the end it was so painful I took the bandages off, to find maggots in the wound."
Mr Walker, who had a previous skin graft back in February, went straight to Newport's Royal Gwent Hospital where the wound was cleaned and looked at by both nurses and doctors, who sent samples off to be tested.
They warned him he could lose his foot, he says.
"The maggots were not placed there, I haven't had any maggot treatment," said Mr Walker in reference to the medical practice of using maggots to treat some flesh wounds.
"I nearly screamed, I freaked out. There were loads, more than 30, and a horrendous smell. The nurses were stunned."
Images of Mr Walker's foot are too graphic to show.
Last week, Mr Walker attended a routine follow-up appointment at Morriston where they told him they could save most of the skin graft, but he says he is considering legal action and has filed a formal complaint with Aneurin Bevan Health Board.
"The wards at Morriston were spotless and I'd done everything the doctors told me to, stayed indoors and kept my feet elevated," he said. "The surgeon was pleased and said 80 per cent of the graft had taken.
"Now I'm in shock and feel dejected. I can't walk, I can't go swimming with my son. I've had enough.
He added: "I hope this never happens to anyone again."
A spokesman for the health board said: “We can confirm that we are currently looking into concerns that have been raised by Mr Walker under our formal complaints process, we will be responding directly to him in due course. We take any concerns raised by patients seriously, and wish to reassure Mr Walker that the issues he has raised will be thoroughly looked into and reported on.”