Stephen came to UCLH Private Healthcare for treatment for a life-threatening cyst on his brain in 2020 – in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. Here Stephen talks to us about his treatment and what it was like being treated privately during a pandemic. 

“I had been having problems with my eyesight for a while and I had noticed that my left eyelid seemed to be moving more than normal. I went to visit an optometrist, who couldn’t see anything immediately obvious and suggested that I went for an MRI scan. 

In the afternoon after my scan, I received a phone call to say that they had discovered a cyst. However, surgery was going to be complex as the cyst was in the centre of my brain. It was potentially life-threatening and very difficult to get out, so I needed to find an expert to help me. I have health insurance in both the UK and France, so I was able to look in both countries for the best consultant for my brain surgery. 

After doing a lot of research online, and speaking to several surgeons, I got in touch with Mr George Samandouras, consultant neurosurgeon at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery. It was the expertise of the Consultant and the reputation of the hospital that made my mind up for me as my condition was so complex.

Even though I needed to have the operation in the middle of the pandemic, I didn’t have any concerns about coming into the hospital. My biggest concern was resolving my own serious health issue. The staff in the hospital were all wonderful and I felt very safe. I stayed in the intensive care unit throughout my stay and the nursing staff would regularly come to see me. I was able to keep in touch with my friends and family via phone as there were limits to visitors during the pandemic, but I didn’t mind as I really needed the peace and quiet to recover! 

The operation was successful and the dangerous cyst was safely removed by Mr Samandouras. Since I have been out of hospital my eye problem has improved a lot. I have been having video clinics with Mr Samandouras and I will have a further follow up in another couple of months. 

If other patients have any concerns about having hospital treatment at this time, I would reassure them that the hospital is so careful about safety and minimising any risks against COVID.  Please don’t be worried about coming into hospital for your care.”