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EX-NASA expert in desperate plea with NHS Grampian to cut off gigantic limb that is 'ruining his life'

A FORMER NASA computer technician is locked in a battle with the NHS over what to do about the grotesquely swollen leg that is ruining his life .

Health chiefs claim Michael Cull, 67, will spend the rest of his days in a wheelchair if they amputate the leg.

But Michael, who worked on the Apollo programme and is now based in Aberdeenshire , can’t understand why they won’t even talk about giving him a prosthetic limb.

He is also at odds with NHS Grampian over the root cause of his harrowing condition.

They say he has lymphoedema – a disorder of the lymphatic system that causes limbs to swell.

Michael says he feels “let down” by the NHS

But he insists he is suffering from elephantiasis, most commonly caused by a tropical parasite.

Michael, 67, told the Record: “I don’t wish to be wheelchair-bound for life.

“Soldiers have far worse and manage with prosthetics. Why can’t I?”

Michael’s left leg began to swell after a car crash in London more than 10 years ago and now weighs nearly four stone.

His condition makes everyday tasks an ordeal and morons taunt him in the street.

Michael accuses NHS Grampian of keeping him in the dark about his options and telling outright lies about his wishes.

In a letter to his MSP Stewart Stevenson last month, the health board’s nursing director Amanda Croft claimed Michael wanted the leg amputated.

She wrote that amputation was “not essential” for Michael because he could still walk, but his doctors were still considering it “in advance of any definitive offer of treatment”.

And she added: “Needless to say, if Mr Cull elects to have amputation he will be wheelchair-bound for the rest of his life.”

But Michael insists he only suggested amputation would be best if it was the safest option. And he says he suggested a prosthetic limb, a point Croft does not mention.

“This is a twisted pack of lies here, basically,” Michael said. “I want it resolved one way or the other.

“If NHS Grampian can’t do it, then they should have the guts to tell me they’re unhappy about doing it.

“I have no intention of being in a wheelchair for the rest of my life.”

Michael now has an appointment to see a consultant in Aberdeen in a couple of weeks. But he admits he is worried by the tone of Croft’s letter.

He said: “I haven’t even been able to see a specialist who could discuss the options with me.

“I don’t know whether I’d lose the whole leg, half the leg, or what.”

Michael also believes NHS Grampian have failed to properly investigate his belief that he has elephantiasis.

A consultant in Dundee examined him last year and said he believed he had the illness.

But tests at the London Hospital for Tropical Diseases revealed no trace of the parasite that most often causes it.

Michael says he has asked several times for a test which tracks the movement of the parasite through the body at night.

He said this “night test” is standard procedure when elephantiasis is suspected. And he insists surgery would have been safer and easier if elephantiasis had been diagnosed years ago.

NHS Grampian told us they couldn’t discuss individual cases because of patient confidentiality.

But a spokeswoman said: “If patients are concerned about their care, we recommend they contact the team in charge.

“Healthcare professionals will work with a patient to discuss options, suitability, complexity, risks and potential consequences of procedures or treatments.

“This is designed so the best, informed decision can be made for that individual patient.”

What is Elephantiasis?

Elephantiasis is a parasitic infection where a worm lives inside the body.

Worm larvae get into the bloodstream through mosquito bites. They grow into adults and live in the lymphatic system, causing blockages and swelling in the limbs. The infection is common in India, Africa, South Asia, the Americas and the Pacific.