Emilia Clarke Writes Letter To Healthcare Workers Who Saved Her Life

by Valerie Williams
Originally Published: 
Emilia Clarke Writes Letter To Healthcare Workers Who Saved Her Life : Emilia Clarke
Samir Hussein/Getty

Emilia Clarke suffered brain aneurysms twice while filming “Game of Thrones”

Over a year ago, Game of Thrones actress Emilia Clarke revealed in a poignant essay that she had suffered from two life-threatening brain aneurysms during the early seasons of filming the popular HBO show. Now, she’s thanking the healthcare workers who helped her through her difficult recoveries in a moving essay.

Clarke wrote the letter as part of a project thanking Britain’s National Health Service. It’s called “Dear NHS: 100 Stories to Say Thank You,” and the essays are all written by celebrities wanting to express their personal gratitude to the NHS. The essays were compiled and edited by best-selling author Adam Kay and will be for sale in hardcover this Thursday.

Clarke writes, “The memories I will hold dearest, though, are ones that fill me with awe: of the nurses and doctors I knew by name when, in the weeks after my first brain haemorrhage, we watched the passing of time and the passing of patients in the Victor Horsley Ward at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery in Queen Square, London.”

Clarke had two separate brain hemorrhages in 2011 and 2013.

The actress credits one nurse with the breakthrough that led to the diagnosis of her condition. “The nurse who suggested — after everyone else in A&E struggled to find an answer when I was first admitted — that maybe, just maybe I should have a brain scan. She saved my life.”

She thanks an anesthetist who she said, “miraculously kept me giggling along with my entire family as he talked me through the process of what was about to happen to my brain and then counted me down from 10.”

She shouts out the surgeon “whose skill, quick thinking and sheer determination saved my life, while never letting on how close to death I had been.”

Clarke expresses thanks to the nurses “who washed my body with care and love when I couldn’t walk or sit.” We all know nurses are heroes, there in the dark hours when almost everyone else has gone home.

She recognizes hospital staff “who mopped the floor when my bedpan fell to the ground, shame and embarrassment filling the room along with disinfectant, and then a reassuring smile and a knowledge that they’d seen worse.”

She even thanked the kitchen employees “who made my fish in white sauce with peas every day, despite it being a child’s meal.”

But it wasn’t just the physical and medical work that makes Clarke feel so grateful — she also shares a moment where a nurse’s compassion helped her through a sad and scary evening. While hospitalized for dehydration-led aphasia, which meant she couldn’t talk, the patient next to Clarke was close to dying. Even though other patients’ families had to leave, the nurse let Clarke’s mother remain with her to hold her hand.

“She saw that, in this moment, she held my fragile mind, and its capacity to pray that I wouldn’t be next, in her hands,” Clarke writes.

Above all, it was the feeling those healthcare workers provided that Clarke wasn’t battling her scary health conditions on her own that she’s grateful for. “In all those moments, over those three weeks, I was not, not ever, truly alone.”

This article was originally published on