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Posted on: September 18th, 2017 by Mark Tawn No Comments

Compensation Culture? What Compensation Culture?

On 7th September 2017 two interesting papers were published. Both bear close scrutiny.

‘Managing the costs of clinical negligence in trusts’ prepared by the National Audit Office indicates that:

1. the number of new claims alleging clinical negligence has reduced slightly over the last three years.

‘Civil Justice Statistics Quarterly, England and Wales, April to June 2017 (provisional)’ produced by the Ministry of Justice reveals that;

2. compared to the same quarter in 2016 unspecified money claims for personal injury have fallen by 4% and

3. unspecified money claims (of which about 95% are claims for personal injury) have generally been decreasing since a peak in January to March 2013

The comment you are most unlikely to read anywhere in the popular press is the following (relating to claims for alleged clinical negligence), also from the NAO report:

“less than 4% of people experiencing a harmful incident will make a claim”.

Think about that. Fewer than 1 in 20 experiencing a harmful incident will make a claim. The British stiff upper lip remains firmly in place.

Pain and Fame (2) – Agony Ant

Posted on: June 20th, 2017 by Mark Tawn No Comments

Pain and Fame (2) – Agony Ant

Sadly, it has recently been claimed that Ant McPartlin, one half of the nation’s favourite double-act Ant & Dec, has checked into rehab.

We have blogged about how pain can affect anyone at any time, including the rich and famous.

Ant McPartlin

Newspaper reports suggest that Ant has been suffering with chronic pain for years – because of  problems with his right knee. Also, it is said that Ant and his wife have been upset by an inability to have children. We add our voice to the outpouring of support for Mr McPartlin, his wife and those around him.

Ant McPartlin

Anthony David ‘Ant’ McPartlin, OBE  was born in 1975.  Best known as one half of the acting and TV presenting duo Ant & Dec.

Ant’s first career break was in the children’s drama series Byker Grove which led to a pop music careeer for himself and Declan Donnolley as PJ & Duncan. Ant and Dec went on to have a very successful career as television presenters, presenting I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here! and, Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway since 2002, Britain’s Got Talent since 2007 and Text Santa since 2011.

It can happen to anyone

We reported in one of our Success Stories how one of our clients suffered botched knee surgery. He went on to develop CRPS, a devastating condition which caused agonising pain and considerable disability. It may be that Ant’s knee problem was age-related and that his surgery was skilfully performed but if somebody else has been at fault, as in our client’s case, compensation can be claimed.

Money may not be an issue for actors and TV stars who can afford to pay for private treatment. For ordinary folk interim payments and a final compensation award can lead to rehabilitation, care and assistance, a move to more suitable accommodation and peace of mind.

Mark Tawn, who has a special interest in chronic pain cases comments:

It is sad to hear about Ant McPartlin. I remember when he was in Byker Grove and over the years my children have grown up watching him on TV. My favourite moment was seeing Ant & Dec in Love Actually – hilarious! Chronic pain is terrible. Some of my clients have fallen into despair, never knowing if or when their troubles will come to an end; others have struggled with side-effects from medication they have been prescribed and others have craved rehabilitation but been unable to access it. Hopefully Ant will make a full recovery and will become a vocal supporter for others who suffer daily.

If you are suffering with chronic pain as a result of an accident that wasn’t your fault contact us and see how we can help.

 

Chronic Pain and Fame

Posted on: March 23rd, 2017 by Mark Tawn 1 Comment

Chronic Pain and Fame

Does chronic pain affect the rich and famous? When we talk about the wealthy we may instinctively think:

“They: don’t know how I feel; have money; are pampered; can live and eat healthily and if they fall ill can have any treatment they need. If that doesn’t work they are well looked after.”

Are we right? Are the wealthy exempt from the suffering caused by chronic pain? If they are in pain can they pay for early and expensive treatment? Can they therefore bring their suffering to a prompt end?

The Beatles

The Fab Four reminded us that money can’t buy love; but can riches buy a pain free life? Apparently not:

Spider senses tingling

Tobey Maguire is famed for his roles in films such as “Seabiscuit” and “Spider-Man”. He has experienced debilitating back pain for years. Maguire had to disclose this because it had the potential to affect his ability to perform his own stunts and limit his availability for filming. This could have caused him to decline (or lose) lucrative roles. Even super-heroes can’t escape the clutches of chronic pain.

spiderman 

Opposites Attract

In the 1980s Paula Abdul found fame as a dancer turned pop star. Those who watch talent shows may know her now as a judge who was, more often than not, kind to contestants on “American Idol”.

paula-abdul

Abdul was involved in a cheerleading accident in her teens. Later she had a couple of car accidents and was also involved in a ‘plane crash. Refusing to give in to her injuries and working on despite her symptoms, she experienced years of pain, took medication which caused awful side-effects, had injections and underwent surgery many times.

Reported to have been diagnosed with Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (now usually referred to as Complex Regional Pain Syndrome or CRPS) Abdul has said at long last she is feeling much improved following treatment with Enbrel, a medication used to treat arthritis and psoriasis.

Jump to it

Star of the stage production of the musical “Ghost”, Sarah Harding, revealed that she suffered chronic pain, caused by a knee injury she suffered when filming for Channel 4’s “The Jump”.

sarah-harding

Harding told Hello Magazine:

“..as anyone in chronic pain will be able to tell you, it can take a massive toll on your mental as well as physical wellbeing”.

Wiltshire wonder

melinda-messenger

Melinda Messenger, born in Swindon, collapsed several times having suffered a disc prolapse in her back. The star of “Cowboy Builders” and “Live on Five”, who had always kept herself fit and healthy, was terrified by the agonising pain she experienced. On one occasion she reported having to drag herself across the kitchen floor and on others her pain was so bad she was unable to get out of bed.

Messenger spent many months in constant pain which decimated her quality of life. She received advice on pain management which included pain relief and physical therapy and now, thankfully, reports having many more good days than bad.

Having driven herself too hard for too long, Messenger now paces herself and uses coping strategies to manage her ongoing condition.

Serious Injury Experts

Pain is indiscriminate. It can affect anyone, including the rich and famous, at any time.

If you are suffering chronic pain as a result of an accident that wasn’t your fault talk to us and see how we can help.

Compensation for sight lost in one eye

Posted on: July 18th, 2016 by Mark Tawn No Comments

Compensation settlement for sight lost in one eye

Devastation after sight lost following surgery.  Sight lost

In May 2012 Mrs S went to see her GP with a letter written by her optician who recommended onward referral to an ophthalmological specialist.

Instead of referring her Mrs S’ GPs prescribed eye drops following various appointments over several months. Mrs S was a patient of a group practice and so was seen by a number of different doctors.

After about five months one of Mrs S’ GPs finally referred her (urgently) to a local hospital. The specialist there was so concerned by his own findings that he made an urgent onward referral to a specialist eye hospital and they saw Mrs S promptly.

Thorough assessment and further investigations revealed that Mrs S had a tumour behind her eye and she was listed for surgery to remove it.

The tumour was removed but sadly Mrs S lost the sight in her eye.

Breach of duty was admitted by the first GP Mrs S had seen: on the basis that she should have been referred to a specialist but was not.

The first GP did not however accept that there was a causative link between the delay in referring Mrs S to a specialist and the eventual loss of sight in the affected eye.

Expert evidence was obtained from a GP and a Consultant Ophthalmologist with a special interest in orbital surgery. Counsel (a barrister) was instructed and Mrs S’s claim was valued.

The GP’s solicitors advanced what appeared to be a nuisance offer, which was quite upsetting for Mrs S. Court proceedings were issued and defended. Offers and counter-offers were exchanged and eventually, Mrs S elected to settle her claim without proceeding to trial.

At the conclusion of her claim Mrs S wrote to our Mark Tawn:

“Thanks for all your help and support and to the team at Davey Law as well throughout. Truly grateful.”

We were delighted to work for and with Mrs S and to achieve an outcome with which she was happy.

If you think you have been inadequately treated by your doctor and that you have suffered injury and loss as a consequence talk to Davey Law now.

Telephone us on: 01285 654875

Or send us an email: enquiries@seriousinjury.expert

No win, no fee. No call centres. Just serious injury experts.

Bionic Eye Trial

Posted on: January 8th, 2016 by Mark Tawn No Comments

The BBC have reported wonderful news: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-35220615 arising from a clinical trial at Oxford’s John Radcliffe Hospital.

‘Six patients who have had little or no sight for many years are having a cutting-edge “bionic eye” implanted in an attempt to give them some sight, and independence, back’.

The BBC’s article explains Rhian Lewis from Cardiff was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa (which destroys light sensitive cells in the retina) which left her blind in her right eye and almost completely so in her left eye.

In summer a device (which replaces the light-sensitive retinal cells in the eye) was implanted into Rhian Lewis’ right eye. The device was connected to a tiny computer placed under the skin behind her ear. When switched on a signal travels to her brain via her optic nerve. Within seconds of the device being switched on Rhian Lewis (who had seen nothing with her right eye for over 16 years)  experienced a “flashing” in her eye.

That flashing, became more like a line at the top and bottom of her eye and with the passage of time is now “..more of a shimmer..much less distracting and a little more accurate.”

The clinical trial team have performed tests and an elated Rhian was “chuffed…like a kid at Christmas!” to be able to locate shapes on a table; outside to be able to see the sun shining on a silver car and to realise it had gone dark when walking beneath a tree.

Rhian Lewis describes the excitement and “..pure elation..pure joy..” she experiences at being able, for the first time in 16 or 17 years, to locate items such as spoons and forks on a table. She continues to practise interpreting the signals and regaining her independence. We wish her very well indeed for the future.

The clinical trial continues, with the team reportedly hopeful that if it is successful there may be a possibility of the implant being made available on the NHS and that the technology may one day apply to other eye diseases, such as age-related macular degeneration.

We have successfully acted for (and secured damages/compensation) for many clients who have been left partially or totally blind e.g. Malcolm who lost sight in one eye following a paint-balling accident; John who suffered a knife-wound to one eye whilst working as a butcher and Ian who suffered chemical burns to both eyes whilst at work.

We know how devastating loss of eyesight can be.

Rhian Lewis’ blindness was not accident-related and even with her condition she “still had an intact optic nerve and all the brain wiring needed for vision”. Whilst the clients we have mentioned may not have benefited from technology such as that mentioned above, we always carefully consider how, if possible, our client’s lives may be improved by advances in medication, therapies, treatment, aids, equipment and technology.

 

 

 

Experimental Drug Leaves Man In Chronic Pain

Posted on: January 5th, 2016 by Mark Tawn No Comments

Dr Ranjana Srivastava writing in the Guardian:

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/jan/05/we-need-clinical-trials-but-we-must-remain-vigilant-against-their-abuse

reports that after two doses of an experimental drug in a clinical trial a man she knows has been left with profound nerve damage, chronic pain and the inability to use his dominant hand.

The man, already suffering from a rare multisystem disease, was caught between a rock and a hard place: continue to suffer (when no conventional medicine would help) or participate in a clinical trial that might, ultimately, help him and others. Sadly the side-effects of the trial medication exaggerated his problems and have left him worse off.

In this case the gentleman known to Dr Srivastava alleged that rare but serious toxicities should have been better explained to him and had they been he would not have participated in the trial, there was a lack of good communication, his complaints were not taken seriously and the process of obtaining informed consent was lax.

A perhaps surprising flip-side to researcher misconduct is that participants in clinical trials have also been found to mislead. Some withhold relevant medical information (such as the use of prescription and recreational drugs) and others exaggerate symptoms or even pretend to have them in order to be allowed to participate. Dr Srivastava describes this having had tragic consequences for a participant in a sleep study who died having failed to disclose anorexia and self-induced vomiting which, had they known about it, would have caused the researchers to exclude her.

This interesting article concludes that we must hope for total integrity in researchers and participants involved in clinical trials. We need clinical trials but their outcomes may impact on the medicines prescribed to us by our doctors – and thus our lives.

 

 

“compassion is absurdly easy to neglect”

Posted on: December 23rd, 2015 by Mark Tawn No Comments

I was struck by this excellent article in the Telegraph:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/life/living-with-chronic-fatigue-how-i-wish-my-friends-would-treat-me/

Many: live with complex conditions which lack a “tidy diagnosis”; suffer what Lucy Mayhew bravely describes as “..paralysing physical pain, fear and despair” and are left “..casting about for viable medical help”.

There are  two things that keep Lucy Mayhew going: “..stubborn determination that there is a path to recovery and savouring small gifts of compassion.” An extract from a letter she wrote following a visit from a friend is hugely touching:

“‘As I cried you hugged me and said you knew what a huge amount I had done and how endlessly hard I had been trying to find a path back to health.'”

She goes on to explain this “…did more good than anything else could possibly have done…it helped…” and that “..bearing testimony to a person’s suffering..transcends pity. It’s love as understanding which is priceless”.

The article continues: “We may be unable to affect the outcome of a hellish circumstance, but the way it is experienced can always be altered and improved” and concludes with

“Five practical ways to show compassion to someone who is continually ill:

  1. Be patient and constant…
  2. Share your life…
  3. Be sensitive…
  4. Avoid belittling commentary…
  5. Show you believe..”

It is humbling to see, first hand, the care, love, devotion, kindness and compassion that friends, family and carers provide. I will try to learn from you.

I am in constant awe of my clients. You endure so much. It is my privilege to work with and for you.

I wish your circumstances were different. I share your hope.

Thank you, Lucy Mayhew.