Former Leeds and Liverpool football star Dominic Matteo refers to the doctors and nurses at Leeds General Infirmary as his “super heroes” after treating him for a brain tumour two years ago.
Dominic was back at Leeds General Infirmary to hear about the latest designs for a new state-of-the-art adults hospital and a new home for Leeds Children’s Hospital – and to meet Ryan Mathew, the Consultant Neurosurgeon who he credits as his life-saver.
Just over two years ago Dominic was fighting a battle bigger than anything he ever faced on the football pitch – a life-threatening brain tumour.
Surgeons in Leeds removed the tumour and now the 47-year-old is taking everything step-by-step and day-by-day. He cherishes the care he received from those he says without hesitation “saved my life.”
“From my point of view the care at the hospital is second to none,” said Dominic, who lives with wife Jessica and his three children Luisa, 16, Elin 12, and Luca 8 near Halifax. “I can’t praise the hospital enough. It was absolutely amazing from top to bottom.
“Everyone was so friendly and compassionate and made me feel at ease. Listening skills are so important and there was always that personal and caring touch.”
He says his life-changing situation was made more bearable thanks to the hospital staff. “They are very aware of what you have been through. It was very scary for me and my family to see me in that way and the staff took that fear away from me.”
Dominic, who has had fantastic support from ex-footballers and the fans, continues his recovery and also praises the care of the oncology team in Leeds led by his oncologist, Professor Susan Short.
He was impressed to see the plans for the new adults’ hospital which will include a 24-bed critical care unit and a diagnostic imaging facility to increase capacity. There will also be a neurology day-case unit in the new hospital plans.
“It’s great that the new hospitals have been designed around the needs of the patients to enhance their experience of the care they are being given,” said Dominic who has been well enough to take on a new role with Leeds United.
Dominic, who is now an ambassador at Leeds United, was also pleased to see there will be an emphasis on staff well-being in the new hospitals, with more facilities for those who work there. “Between the staff and my surgeon Ryan Mathew they kept me alive and I will be forever grateful,” he added.
Ryan Mathew, Associate Professor & Honorary Consultant Neurosurgeon at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust said he was delighted at the progress Dominic has made.
“It is simply fantastic to see Dominic looking so well, enjoying time with his family, getting back to the work that he is so clearly passionate about, and making the most of life,” he said. “Seeing our patients like this makes all of the hard work that we do as a team worthwhile.
“When I see the plans for the new hospitals, I get so excited about how much more we can do for patients like Dominic in the future, using cutting-edge facilities and technology. It’s a great time to be a consultant at Leeds Teaching Hospitals.”