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Written on 20th October 2016 by Claire Roantree

This month the first world Cybathlon has taken place in Switzerland, a unique competitive sporting event designed to demonstrate how modern assistive technology and prosthetics can be used to help people with amputations and other disabilities in their daily life. 

The competition included events such as the Powered Arm and Powered Leg Prosthesis Races, the Functional Electrical Stimulation Bike Race and the Powered Wheelchair Race, all aimed at inspiring and motivating researchers and developers to forge ahead with the creation of technology to assist the disabled. Meanwhile the debates which led up to the event emphasised the importance of also breaking through non-physical barriers, such as social acceptance, expectations and accessibility, if we are to change the lives of disabled people for the better.

Closer to home we’ve seen inspiring media stories about brave, young boy, Lewis Kelly, who has bounced back since his below knee amputation to take up snowboarding, and teenage amputee Charlotte Hannibal’s work as a Young Ambassador for Meningitis Now. Their experiences highlight how accidents and illnesses leading to amputation can affect anyone, and give greater insight into the everyday challenges of life after amputation and the benefits of prosthetics and rehabilitation.

At Boyes Turner we act for clients who have lost limbs in road accidents or accidents at work, or as a result of medical negligence in the management of their diabetes, late diagnosis of meningitis and sepsis, and surgery. Having established liability for our client’s injury, we work with our client to understand their life interests prior to the limb loss and the challenges they face owing to their circumstances now – whether that be in the area of family, work or leisure interests – to ensure that their rehabilitation and prosthetics are appropriate for them.

Our specialist lawyers apply for early interim payments of damages to alleviate the financial hardship which often follows a disabling accident. With money available at an early stage in the claim, expert prosthetic advice can be obtained, fittings can take place and rehabilitation can get underway without having to wait until the conclusion of the claim.

Rehabilitation and assistive technology are often essential components in a client’s recovery. Restored mobility and independence are major factors in regaining self-esteem following an amputation injury, easing the way back to emotional and psychological recovery in addition to dealing with physical challenges.

Boyes Turner Solicitor, Sita Soni, recently obtained a substantial six figure damages award following a defended medical negligence claim for 63 year old Mr P who suffered a left above knee amputation after delayed hospital treatment of his popliteal artery aneurysm resulting in acute ischaemia. In addition to phantom limb and leg stump pain, the loss of his mobility, his ability to drive and his job, Mr P suffered psychological problems.

Mr P described his condition at the time that he first contacted Boyes Turner as “the dungeons of despair, having lost my leg, my job and my self-respect.” His compensation enabled him to buy the prosthetic limb that is right for him so that he can walk, drive and look after himself, and make adaptations to his home which will further increase his independence. The settled claim has enabled him to start getting his life back on track and restored his hope for the future.