Over the weeks scores of specialists, ward doctors, nurses and physiotherapists tended Dee’s case. This was the National Health Service at its magnificent best. Never once was anyone pestered for money or insurance forms. She had to have a trachaeotomy the day after her birthday (the sweet nurses reminded the visitors of this), was being monitored for a multitude of issues and had come through septic shock, but the road to recovery was still an arduous one.

I will stop here for a moment and say that whenever I go public about the beauty of universal health care I am inundated with hate mail from Britons who have had to wait months for vital surgery and by Americans terrified of a bungling system being brought in to the USA. The NHS is far from perfect and there are indeed many horror stories. One can posit that there are negative scenarios in private medicine as well. How will I ever forget the beautiful manager of my local salon who at a tender age died in cardiac arrest because the ‘celebrity private hospital’ in which she was giving birth had insufficient cardiac rescue units available?…

I have watched a miracle unfold as dozens of modestly paid but utterly devoted medical practitioners have laboured to bring my friend back from the brink. In an environment teeming with the highest levels of professionalism I have watched every aspect of life support administered with meticulous care. In the United States, Dee’s mountain of drugs, equipment support, tubes, disposables and gallons of intravenous feeds and Jevity liquid food plus plain old man and woman-hours would have cost over $1 million by now.