THE John Radcliffe Hospital has defended its treatment of a patient who claimed he was left unattended with an open wound for hours on end.

Stephen Hanger, 46, got so fed up with waiting for doctors to see him that he ended up leaving the hospital.

He said he had sat in the Surgical Emergency Unit for four hours on Friday last week, as well as four hours on Saturday, waiting for an operation on a 2in-wide abscess in his armpit.

Now Mr Hanger, of Campbell Road, Cowley, Oxford, said he has lost faith in the hospital and will not return for treatment unless it is a medical emergency.

However, the hospital said Mr Hanger was seen within hospital target times on both days, but that other patients had to be prioritised due to their medical needs.

Mr Hanger was sent to the unit by his GP on Friday, June 18, needing emergency surgery on the abscess, which was weeping fluid and blood.

He had blood and urine samples taken, but he said he was left sitting in the ward for four hours without any further updates.

He said that because the open wound was not dressed, he had to get tissues from the hospital toilet to put on it.

Mr Hanger said: “The pain was excruciating.

“The only way I can describe it was like having a red hot iron being stabbed into my armpit.

“It was pain like I have never experienced.”

Without any sign of treatment, he left hospital after four hours to care for his frail mum Ivy, 76, who suffers from dementia.

When he came back on Saturday, he faced four more hours of waiting.

He said: “I got there at 7.45am and sat there until gone midday. In the end, I thought ‘enough is enough’.

“I asked them to just give me my test results, so I could go to get private treatment.

“They told me they could not get the results on the system and could not find them. The nurse was really embarrassed.”

Nurses finally dressed his wound before he left, and he was handed bandages and wraps to put on at home.

He has since declined to return for treatment, fearing he will be left waiting again.

He said: “When I explained my feelings to the staff, it was almost as if they knew this was going on.

“They knew they were failing me.

“I’m worried that people in far worse circumstances are suffering.”

Hospital spokesman Elika Saedi said a senior nurse had spoken to Mr Hanger about his complaint.

She said: “We are sorry Mr Hanger was not happy with his care or the treatment plan offered to him.

“Patients do have to be seen according to clinical priority and those with serious or life-threatening conditions must be treated first.

“Although there are no national targets around patients being admitted to a Surgical Emergency Unit, we aim to see patients within four hours of admittance, as happened with this case.”