By CLAIRE ELLICOTT
Vulnerable: Jason Ketley, 42, was left with painful injuries after being bitten by the rodent more than a dozen times on his back and neck as he lay sedated in his hospital bed
A vulnerable patient was bitten by a rat more than a dozen times as he lay sedated in an NHS residential hospital.
Nurses only realised what had happened when Jason Ketley stumbled down the corridor with the rodent hanging from his neck by its teeth.
They dislodged the creature and killed it, but Mr Ketley was left with about 12 deep puncture wounds where he had been badly bitten on his shoulder and neck.
Horrifying: Hospital staff only discovered what was happening when Mr Ketley, who has a mental age of two, was spotted stumbling around a corridor with the rat hanging from his neck by its teeth
When his parents called to check on him, they were told that the 42-year-old, who has learning difficulties, bipolar disorder and a mental age of two, had been bitten by a rat, although the hospital now insists it was a field mouse.
But his mother Patricia Boardman, 63, said: ‘As soon as I saw the bites I knew it had to have been a rat.
One of the units on the St Ebba's Hospital site, in Epsom, Surrey
‘They were deep teeth puncture marks all over his shoulder. I couldn’t believe that there were rats running free in an NHS hospital. It’s absolutely disgusting.
‘He was heavily sedated when it happened, so God knows how long the rat was gnawing him. It must have been in his bed.’
Mr Ketley was attacked after going to bed for the night at a specialist care unit at St Ebba’s hospital in Epsom, Surrey, on November 20 last year.
He was taken to Epsom General Hospital the following day to have diphtheria, tetanus and polio vaccinations to protect him from disease.
Claims: Hospital bosses have claimed the rat was in fact a field mouse, but Mrs Boardman was disgusted at hospital staff's 'outrageous' suggestion her son was attacked by a field mouse because of the size of the bite marks