05 October 2018

Being diagnosed with cancer can be a traumatic and frightening experience for anyone to come to terms with, and this was no different for Dan Mattison when he was told he had Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia in 2014.

The diagnosis meant an uncertain future for Dan, where between 2014 and 2018 he became accustomed with regular visits to the hospital. It was here however that the exceptional patient care he received had a lasting impact on his life, proving a decisive factor in him following a career in medicine.

During those 4 years, Dan was treated as both inpatient and outpatient by Consultant Haematologist & BSH Member, Dr Geoff Shenton. This involved intensive chemotherapy for the first 8 months, with the remainder involving less intensive 'maintenance' treatment.

This treatment meant fortnightly hospital visits throughout the majority of his A level studies, which, along with the effects of the chemotherapy, made studying for his A Levels extremely difficult.

This however did not hold Dan back, as he recently got the news that he had received 3 ‘A’ grades in his A Level studies and, after taking a gap year, will take up a place at University to study medicine. This in no small part inspired by the excellent care he received from Dr Shenton and staff at Newcastle Hospital.

Speaking about his decision to study medicine, Dan said, “I noticed the friendly, caring atmosphere created by Dr Shenton, the nurses and the other hospital staff. This is something I would enjoy working under in the future, which lead me to apply for medicine.” 

Continuing, he said, “The level of care I received since diagnosis has been outstanding. The staff always made me feel comfortable and showed a genuine interest in me and my family. Not only did Dr Shenton inspire me to apply to study medicine, he also helped by setting a great example for how doctors should talk to patients. This was very helpful when applying to university.”

As for his ambitions on specialising during his studies, Dan commented, “I am unsure what area I would like to specialise in. I am looking forward to starting university after my gap year, and I hope to decide once I have experienced a few different specialties. If I can offer the same level of care as I have received during my treatment, I will make a very successful doctor.”

BSH congratulates Dan on his achievements and wishes him the best of luck in his further studies and his career in medicine. We also congratulate Dr Geoff Shenton for his work, with Dan's story demonstrating the importance of delivering outstanding patient care.