Woman cured after being told she was dying

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The Independent Online
Samantha Muttock's health and happiness hinged on a chance encounter with a doctor at a Southampton hospital. Today, her epilepsy, which was so severe that she had as a teenager attempted to commit suicide, appears to have been completely cured, writes Liz Hunt.

Ms Muttock was admitted to the hospital after one of the violents fits which had plagued her since she was 11 years old. Initially, doctors had diagnosed that she was suffering from epilepsy. However, two years ago, at the age of 24, she was told that the fits she was having were in fact due to a malignant brain tumour and that she was dying.

Ms Muttock and her family were devastated. Her fits grew worse, occurring up to seven times a day, and she became deeply depressed.

'This doctor who I had never seen before asked me if I'd ever been to the Institute of Neurology in London. I'd never heard of it. He rang up and made an appointment for me there and then,' she said.

At the Institute of Neurology she was examined by Dr Simon Shorvon, a consultant neurologist. An MRI scan revealed that the 'malignant' tumour diagnosed using a less sophisticated scanning technique was in fact benign, and could probably be surgically removed.

On 13 July last year, she underwent brain surgery and has been free of fits or any other effects since.

Ms Muttock, who works as a nanny and English language teacher in Rome, said yesterday that, even after doctors told her that she was dying, she never believed it. 'In fact I was relieved that at last I knew what was causing the terrible fits. I didn't take it in really. I always thought I'd find a doctor who would be able to help me.'

She said she was 'very angry' that her early years had been needlessly ruined by the illness, but added that she was concerned that other people might have been given a similar diagnosis.

'They could be walking around thinking they're dying like me, when they can be treated,' she said.

(Photograph omitted)