Shaun Cregen has a cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leak, a condition in which the watery liquid surrounding the brain spills out meaning the cushioning effect is reduced and his brain slumps. This results in the 37-year-old suffering from a number of effects including blacking out and fainting when sitting up or standing as the circulation cuts off to his brain.
Mr Cregen has travelled the world as a photographer and says he returned to the UK to be with his poorly mum, Rose, who lives in Edinburgh. After flying in from Hamburg in July, he collapsed at a hotel in Birmingham and was admitted to hospital where he spent three months in a bed.
The University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust billed him £18,000 for treatment after it was unable to verify a number of documents provided by Mr Cregen, including his British passport.
This was disputed by Mr Cregen who claims he is entitled to free healthcare due to being a British citizen and has provided related documents as proof. Despite being unable to sit up straight without fainting, he was deemed medically fit to be discharged earlier this month by doctors.
With no friends or relatives in Birmingham, Mr Cregen decided to be transported to a hotel in Cambridge so he could be close to a neuroradiologist who told him he could perform the procedure he needs.
But less than 48 hours later he was rushed into A&E when a hotel cleaner found him sprawled out on the floor of his room after collapsing while trying to get to the toilet.
He has spent the past two weeks in Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge where doctors have identified a blood clot in his left leg while Mr Cregen also developed acute renal failure during his spell in Birmingham.
But the Scot has expressed delight after doctors confirmed he was eligible for NHS treatment and have scheduled the procedure for next week.
Mr Cregen told the Evening News: “I’m delighted I’m getting the treatment because it is getting late in the day. I’ve been in hospital now for four months and I can’t wait to have the procedure and get back to normal.
“I’m getting a stent and balloon inserted under a jugular vein to stop it from narrowing and blocking off my blood supply. It will make such a huge difference to my life. I’ll have to stay in hospital for a few days after for observation but then hopefully I can leave.
“I have had no issues with my documentation here and I’m eligible for the treatment I’m receiving on the NHS. It is completely different to my experience in Birmingham.
“I’m so thankful to the staff in Cambridge and I just hope this procedure works for the benefit of my mental and physical wellbeing.”