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Patient waited four hours for operation - only to be told surgeon was on holiday

Ian Thurston was waiting to be taken through to the operating theatre when he was told the surgeon was actually 1,000 miles away in Portugal

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Ian Thurston at his home in Accrington

A patient waited nearly four hours in hospital for an urgent operation - only to be told the surgeon was on holiday in Portugal.

Ian Thurston, from Accrington, was waiting to have nasal polyps growths cut from inside his nose after suffering months of breathing and swallowing difficulties.

The 56-year-old had already seen an anaesthetist at BMI Gisburne Park Hospital in Clitheroe and was waiting to be taken through to the operating theatre on July 5 when red-faced staff told him the surgeon was actually more than 1,000 miles away on holiday.

Ian said the revelation has ‘turned my life upside down’ and made his anxiety and illness worse.

“It’s devastated me, my life, my job, everything. What they’ve done to me is absolutely ridiculous”, he said.

“I was in hospital for nearly four hours and they didn’t realise the surgeon was on holiday in Portugal? Something like that has got to be unheard of. I couldn’t believe it.

“I was very worried and anxious about having the operation. I felt a bit more relaxed after seeing the anaesthetist and then I had the shock of my life when they said the surgeon was on holiday.

“I’ve gone through all this to be then set back. It’s really affected me and my wife. We have not even had a written apology for what’s happened.”

Ian, who works as a machine operator and fork-lift truck driver, says he desperately needed the surgery after many months of discomfort.

“I’m struggling to swallow and breathe. It’s like having both of your fingers in your ears air tight and then blocking your nose off air tight and trying to breathe”, he said.

“I’m choking on my food and having nose bleeds. I haven’t been able to breathe up and down my nose for four months. No air can pass up and down my nose, only blood and slime.”

Ian’s wife Carol Thurston said: “I could understand if he had been called away on an emergency but not to be on holiday. Surely they should have known that way before that time.”

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Ian’s rescheduled surgery is due to take place at the hospital on Thursday, July 19.

A spokesman for Gisburne Hospital said: “We appreciate the inconvenience caused and had offered a new appointment date within a short time of the issue arising.”