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Health

The possibility of a miracle

The couple were cuddled up on a sofa, talking about their good fortune. "We lead such a charmed life," James Collins told his wife, Sharmila Nikapota. The Cambridge-educated professionals enjoyed the theatre, dining out, romantic holidays. They had a lovely home and planned a family. "The world was our oyster," Sharmila, now 43, says. James is a commercial barrister, recently made a QC. Sharmila used to be a vet. On July 15, 2002, their perfect world was shattered. Their first child, Sohana, was born with the genetic skin condition recessive dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa (RDEB).

The Sunday Times Magazine, 20.05.12

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Dial H for Healers

Mornings were worst. I would wake with lead in my veins, a jackboot pressing on my chest and my body rigid, as if set in formaldehyde. I'd be beset by a terrible inner loneliness and desolation, paralysed with foreboding. I became destructive, self-sabotaging and impulsive, forgetting that I'm a successful, loved woman with a good life and an exciting future.

This is depression. A crippling depression that has been with me all my life. So who would have thought that the best help would come in the form of a spa therapist?

Tatler Spa Guide, 2014

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The Ab Fab of rehab

Shoplifting is a surprising therapy for an addictions specialist to suggest to a recovering alcoholic, but it's just the sort of recommendation that Robert Batt is likely to make at the Recovery Centre, his new London practice for treating addicts. 'That patient's life was a little flat,' says Batt, smiling. 'She needed a challenge.'

Stella, 12.08.09

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Worst of times, best of care

They say you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone. Equally, with the NHS, you don’t know what you’ve got until you need it.

On May 9 this year, my 79-year-old father, Ronald, careered off the M4 at over 70mph. He hurtled across three lanes on a busy Friday at 2.30pm, down a verge and hit a tree. Miraculously he missed all the other vehicles around him.

It was an hour before emergency services were able to cut him out of his car; then a helicopter landed by the motorway and airlifted him to Oxford’s John Radcliffe Hospital.

Daily Telegraph, 30.06.08

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‘Being stared at was all I ever knew’

When Christian Constantine was born, the doctors at London’s Portland Hospital had never seen such severe cranio-facial deformities. They didn’t, and still don’t, have a name for his condition, but he is believed to be one of four people in the world with a combination of so many rare and serious defects. At 23, he has endured more than 35 operations, including highly risky major reconstructive ones. He has also faced the possibility of blindness, had his kidneys operated on, gone deaf in one ear and suffered life-threatening illnesses such as meningitis and hydrocephalus (fluid on the brain that causes compression).

The Guardian, 06.05.08

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Inside London’s five-star rehab clinic

There’s nothing outside the elegant stucco Chelsea town-house to indicate the extraordinary things that go on inside. Nothing to show why the rich, famous and just plain troubled now store this discreet address in their BlackBerries. A peer of the realm and a young woman stand on the pavement chatting. “It’s great that you’re also dealing with your sex compulsion,” she says. He smiles.

“Is that an acupuncture stud in your ear?” he answers. “No,” she responds. “A magnet. I press it to release endorphins and serotonin.”

Evening Standard, 18.09.07

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