This is exactly the scenario Rachel Muray faced when she was diagnosed on 6 April 2020, a time when more than 200 Australians were testing positive for COVID-19 each day.
But knowing that she was able to access potentially life saving surgery at a St John of God Health Care hospital under the care of a specialist of her choice, even without health insurance, gave Rachel and her family the reassurance they needed to get through this period.
“I needed my operation as soon as possible and I wanted it to be done by the best doctor and in the quickest time possible, and considering what was happening in the world at the time we didn’t want to take any risks,” Rachel said.
By the end of the following week, Rachel was under the care of Mr Chilton Chong at St John of God Berwick Hospital and had a mastectomy to remove her left breast and nodes where her cancer had spread.
“We don’t have private health insurance but the out-of-pocket costs have been worth it,” she said.
“I felt comfortable as soon as I came into the hospital, the doctors and nurses were brilliant and their care was amazing. The admission nurse comforted me and took me up in the lift when I went into the hospital because she knew I needed that extra support without being able to have my partner with me due to the COVID-19 restrictions.”
Rachel said the reassurance that private hospital care provided meant she would continue to seek private hospital care in the future, including for reconstructive surgery.
“Being able to self-fund my care through the private hospital meant I didn’t need to wait for surgery and could choose my surgeon who I have complete faith and trust in,” Rachel said.
“We also chose private hospital care for my son who needed grommets and his adenoids removed as we wanted to ensure the surgery could be done straight away and by a surgeon who we knew and trusted.
“I can’t fault any aspect of the care we have received.”