Major trauma news

 

Colour the world Orange 2017 - International Complex Regional Pain Syndrome Awareness Day

To mark today’s International Complex Regional Pain Syndrome awareness day – Colour the World Orange – we have produced an infographic detailing the symptoms of complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) or reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD).

Buildings across the world are set to turn orange to mark the occasion, the UK buildings are:

·       TRAFALGAR SQUARE FOUNTAINS IN LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM – NOVEMBER 6

·       EMIRATES SPINNAKER TOWER IN PORTSMOUTH, UNITED KINGDOM – NOVEMBER 6

·       FRESH DIRECT ARENA IN LEEDS, UNITED KINGDOM – NOVEMBER 6

·       SWINDON CENTRAL LIBRARY IN SWINDON, UNITED KINGDOM – NOVEMBER 6

·       GATESHEAD MILLENNIUM BRIDGE IN GATESHEAD, UNITED KINGDOM – NOVEMBER 6

·       MANCHESTER TOWN HALL IN MANCHESTER, UNITED KINGDOM – NOVEMBER 2

·       BLACKPOOL TOWER IN BLACKPOOL, UNITED KINGDOM – NOVEMBER 8

As personal injury claim specialists we see a number of chronic pain cases, including Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, one of the most painful types of pain. In our experience, clients develop CRPS after fractures, soft tissue injuries or burns which usually involve extensive swelling and lead to an abnormal neurological pain response that magnifies the effect of their original injury.

If you have been involved in an accident and suffer from chronic pain as a result then get in touch with our expert personal injury claim lawyers on 0800 015 4613 or email PIClaims@boyesturner.com.

The use of technology in rehabilitation following an injury

As claimant brain injury specialists, Boyes Turner are keen advocates of the use of rehabilitation to expedite a person’s recovery following an accident.

At the same time defendants in personal injury claims are encouraged to provide suitable rehabilitative treatment to claimants to assist them in their recovery. To read our article on the Rehabilitation Code 2015 click here.

What rehabilitative options are available to injured persons?

Traditionally, rehabilitation involved adopting physical methods to assist in recovery, for example, physiotherapy or hydrotherapy treatment to aid muscle/strength recovery. One-to-one sessions with a counsellor or neuro-rehabilitation specialist were also used to assist with cognitive behavior therapy. Whilst these forms of rehabilitative therapy are still valid and in many cases the most suitable therapy available, they can take time,  be expensive and not always convenient to the injured person.

In the modern era there is a wealth of technology available to assist rehabilitation specialists when providing rehabilitative therapy and also to allow patients to attend therapy at a time which is convenient to them and often in the comfort of their own home.  This article discusses some of the technological aided rehabilitative therapies available to injured people.

Online exercise programmes and training diaries

Physical therapy

Online applications (apps) can now be used for providing patients with exercise programmes to follow at home to assist in their recovery.  These apps provide the following benefits:

·       Physical exercises can be easily demonstrated to the patient using helpful videos.

·       Easy-to-understand information can be provided to teach patients about their posture, body mechanics and how the body repairs itself via physical therapy.

·       The videos and information can be replayed or re-read a number of times by the patient to ensure they fully understand information. This avoids the problem of patients forgetting the instruction that they received during a time-limited in person

·       Some apps have video recording facilities enabling the patient to record their training so that the treatment provider can analyse normal versus abnormal movement patterns in activities such as walking and running.

·       The videos can also be used for research purposes to help evaluate and treat people with movement impairments.

·       Many apps have a therapy diary which can be updated as the patient trains. This helps the patient to keep a track of their training and also allows their therapist to ensure they are complying with training requirements. Additionally, if the patient is making good progress, the therapist can upgrade the treatment program electronically without the need for an in-person appointment.

·       Some apps use video games as part of the physical therapy training. The use of games makes training fun and motivates patients to take part.

·       The use of these apps also provides a time and cost saving benefit to both the treatment provider and the patient, making rehabilitation more accessible, cheaper and less time consuming.

Neurological therapy

Apps can also be used for providing patients with neurological rehabilitation programmes to follow at home to assist in their recovery.  Examples of online neurological rehabilitation therapy include:

·       Apps that are used to provide physical, visual and audible stimulation to patients requiring neural rehabilitation to aid their recovery. Again these apps can be monitored by neuro-therapists to monitor a patient’s progress and, if necessary, treatment programmes can be upgraded remotely.

·       Apps that are designed to assist brain-injured people in living their day-to-day lives, such as apps that allow patients to follow checklists when using public transport or doing chores such as shopping. Family members or friends can also log in to these apps to provide ideas or support to the patient remotely.

·       App users can talk to other patients with similar problems in online chat room sessions. This helps the patient to avoid feeling alone in their rehabilitation journey, reducing depression, anxiety and other mental health conditions.  A patient with a healthier outlook on life will be more receptive to treatment.

·       As with the physical therapy apps, these apps provide time and cost saving benefits to both the treatment provider and the patient.

Technology assisted physical training

There have been developments in technology assisted physical training, for example:

·       Anti-gravity treadmills are now available to assist with physical rehabilitation therapy and ambulation.
The benefit of these types of treadmills is that they greatly reduce the amount of weight placed on the patient’s lower body.  This reduces pain and pressure on bones and joints whilst exercising and working on their gait.

·       Underwater treadmills reduce pressure on bones and joints whilst also providing measured resistance which assists in recovery.
Many of these treadmills are fitted with underwater cameras which can help the treatment provider monitor gait and recovery and can also help to evaluate and treat people with movement impairments.

·       Exoskeleton suits are available now to assist people with walking disabilities.

Boyes Turner work closely with a network of healthcare professionals and specialist rehabilitation organisations, which enables us to ensure our clients receive early support and rehabilitative intervention, to assist them in rebuilding their lives after serious injury.  Our aim is to help our clients have the best chance of maximising their recovery and returning to a life that allows them to bring closure to what has happened to them and move on.

If you or someone you know has suffered a personal injury due to no fault of their own and would like to discuss pursuing a possible claim for compensation and funding for rehabilitative treatment please call us on  0800 015 4613 or email PIClaims@boyesturner.com.

The Rehabilitation Code 2015

When an individual suffers a personal injury one of their key concerns is how long it will take and what assistance they may need to achieve a full recovery. A slow recovery from a personal injury not only prolongs the pain but can also lead to psychological problems.

In many cases the injured person’s GP and hospital will provide advice and treatment to aid their recovery. However, NHS treatment may take a long time to receive, there may be cost restrictions on what assistance can be provided and the available NHS treatment may not fully provide for the injured person’s needs.

Recognising the need for injured persons to receive the correct rehabilitation advice, assistance and treatment, a number of specialist private organisations* formed a working party to find a solution to this problem. As a result of the working party’s efforts a Rehabilitation Code was published in 2007 and was revised in 2015.

The Rehabilitation Code states that its role:

“… is to restore the individual as much as possible to the position they were in before the accident.  The Code provides a framework for the claimant solicitor and compensator to work together to ensure that the claimant’s health, quality of life, independence and ability to work are restored …”

Description: The Rehabilitation Code 2015

The Rehabilitation Code is relied upon by Boyes Turner to ensure that defendants’ insurance companies do all they can to assist the injured claimant with their recovery as early as possible following an accident.

Our solicitors work with national rehabilitation providers, therapists and clinicians whose common goal is to ensure that clients receive the treatment, care and support they need to give them the best chance of regaining their independence and maximising their recovery to its fullest potential.

Rehabilitation can be far reaching and may not just involve medical treatment or therapy.

Many clients find that as a result of their injuries they can no longer do the job they used to do.  With the assistance of a vocational rehabilitation specialist, our clients have been able to identify new avenues of employment to help regain their sense of purpose. This might involve retraining or going back to further education according to the client’s needs.

Rehabilitation can include the provision of care, aids and equipment, mobility aids such as wheelchairs, adaptations to their home and vehicle. With the right help and support, an injured person can also return to the activities or sports they enjoyed before their accident.

Our network of specialist organisations and services enables us to ensure our clients receive the best possible treatment available to them, to increase their prospects of a making full recovery or returning to their pre-accident lifestyle, bringing closure and allowing them to move on.

Claire Roantree, Partner in the personal injury team at Boyes Turner, is dedicated to ensuring that rehabilitation plays a key part in the recovery of all of her clients who suffer serious or life changing injuries and says that,

“The severity of an injury should not necessarily determine an injured person’s long term outcome. With the right rehabilitation and support at the right time, an individual who has suffered a life changing injury has the potential to achieve new goals and live an independent life.”

If you or someone you know has been the victim of a personal injury and would like a free no obligation advice please call us on  0800 015 4613 or email PIClaims@boyesturner.com.

* The working party included representatives from the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) and the Motor Accident Solicitors Society (MASS).  Boyes Turner are members of both of these organisations as well as a number of other specialist organisations dedicated to assisting injured persons.

Road safety for cyclists

The number of people cycling today has increased by more than a quarter in the last twenty years. However, whilst there are many cyclists who use our busy roads without a problem, there are still some who are either afraid or hesitant to cycle, particularly in traffic.

We have noticed a worrying rise in news about cyclists getting into serious accidents on the road recently and so we have put together some safety tips to help cyclists become more aware of the dangers around them and what they can do to ensure they are safe on the roads.

 

Top road safety tips

Safety comes first:

  • Know and follow the Highway Code
  • Wear a helmet
  • Keep your bike roadworthy
  • In wet weather watch your speed – slippery surfaces it will take you longer to stop

Be seen

  • Use lights and wear bright or reflective clothing, especially at night and in bad weather
  • Make eye contact with other road users
  • Use your bell to warn others of your presence
  • Look behind you when changing positions on the road. This will attract the attention of other drivers and you will know what is happening around you.

Safety in traffic

  • Always ride away from the kerb and parked cars
  • Ensure you ride in a stream of traffic when matching its speed

Having control

  • Are you able to shift your body weight when making an emergency stop? Ensure you are able to swerve safely and use your gears properly
  • On the road have two fingers on your brake levers, this will ensure you brake quicker when it is needed

Road communication

  • Don’t forget to communicate your intentions with other road users
  • Use hand signals and road positioning
  • Ensure you look behind you before signalling

Approaching junctions

  • When approaching a junction, position yourself in the middle of the lane. This will prevent dangerous overtaking
  • Use this approach when moving through a roundabout

Need training?

  • If you are unsure of cycle safety on the road, consider having some cycle training

The importance of recording evidence after a road traffic accident

Each year there are thousands of Road Traffic Accidents (RTA) in the United Kingdom.

Final figures for 2016 have not yet been published but data for 2015 reported the following:

  • In 2015 there were 186,209 RTAs in the UK.
  • 162,340 of those accidents involved a “slight injury”.
  • 22,137 of those accidents involved a “serious injury”.
  • 1,732 of those accidents resulted in a death.

In most cases where an RTA occurs the parties involved will attempt to pass the blame on to someone or something else. Causes of RTAs can be varied but often involve:

  • Poor road conditions (pot holes etc).
  • Negligence of another driver (speeding or not paying due care and attention etc).
  • Poor weather conditions (icy roads etc).
  • Criminal activity (drink drivers etc).
  • Trespassers on the road (animals on highways etc).
  • People failing to afford cyclists ample room on the road.

Whatever the cause of an RTA it is important that you do your best to record as much evidence as possible following the accident.

Ways you can record evidence could include:

  • Taking handwritten notes of:
    a) The name of the road where the accident occurred.
    b) The time of the accident.
    c) The details of other vehicles and drivers involved in the accident, including names, number          plates and insurance details.
    d) Taking notes of comments made by other people involved in the RTA.
    e) Making a note of lighting conditions.
    f) Making a note of weather conditions.

  • Looking around the accident site for witnesses who may have seen the accident.If the accident has been witnessed by someone ask the witness for their full name, address and phone number and explain to them that you will pass their details on to the police and your insurer.

 

  • Using your mobile phone or a camera to take pictures of the accident.When taking pictures try to take good images of:
    a) The location of vehicles on the road.
    b) Road conditions.
    c) Skid marks on the road.
    d) Local traffic signs to include speed limit signs.
    e) Registration plates of other vehicles involved in the accident.
    f) Any other matter you feel will help establish who was at fault for the accident.

 

  • Dash cams are also a great way of recording vital evidence surrounding an RTA.
    Dash cams are available to buy on the high street and online with prices starting from as little as £20.00. Some insurers even offer a discount in insurance premiums if your vehicle is fitted with a dash cam.

  • Looking for CCTV in the local area that may have recorded footage of the accident.
    CCTV could be on local businesses, on public transport such as buses or CCTV operated by local authorities.
    If you think someone else may have CCTV footage of an accident, approach the CCTV owner advising them of your accident and ask them to keep the footage for the police and your insurer.
    Recording evidence after an RTA is not just important for establishing criminal liability, but can help ensure that you are compensated for any injuries or losses that may arise from the accident.

If you suffer a serious injury in a road accident you may require long time care, assistance and rehabilitation.

If the other driver is proven liable for the accident, you can claim these costs, together with your net loss of earnings and compensation for your injuries, from their insurance company, so it is in your interests to record as much evidence surrounding the accident as possible.

Dorset Orthopaedic Rehabilitation Conference

It was fascinating to hear Dr Norbert Kang, a Consultant Plastic Surgeon at Royal Free Hospital, talk about Targeted Muscle Reinnervation at Dorset Orthopaedics Training Day this spring.

TMR is a surgical procedure used to improve the control of upper limb prostheses. This is a procedure where residual nerves in muscles of an amputated limb which has lost its function, are transferred into another muscle to reinnervate new muscle targets.

Dr Kang described how surgeons take stumps of nerves in muscles then reattach and use the muscles as an interface and amplifier of the amputated nerve motor signals. This allows for better control of prosthetic arms.

Once patients have undergone TMR surgery, they are fitted with advanced pattern-recognition myoelectric prosthesis. The aim of TMR is to improve control and function by more subconscious and flowing movement, in transhumeral (above elbow) and glenohumeral (above shoulder) amputees.

Dr Kang stated that in many of his patients, the surgery has eradicated or reduced pain by removing painful neuromas which can cause phantom limb pain or neuroma pain, usually within 6-12 months of surgery.

TMR is carried out on the NHS under the “reconstructive surgery” tariff in order to achieve pain relief with or without follow up rehabilitation. However, if the aim of surgery is to achieve better control of the upper limb prosthesis, once pain is controlled after surgery, patients must commit to a rehabilitation process which can be time consuming and labour intensive.

It is recommended that patients practice for between 4-5 hours a day using visual and memory to control movement in order to calibrate new muscle movement with that of their normal arm.  Once they are able to calibrate movement with the unaffected limb, the prosthetic limb can be fitted with the use of a harness with a control panel.

It is good to know that TMR surgery could be done under the NHS to relieve pain, particularly if you have a client in pain and a defendant who does not admit of liability and will not agree to adopt the Rehabilitation Code and provide rehab funding.  If or when funding does become available, Dr Kang stated that rehabilitation with the prosthetic limb can be carried out at a later stage in any event.

If the whole procedure is carried out on a private basis, Dr Kang recommended that a multi-disciplinary team approach be adopted to include the surgeon, Prosthetist and Pain specialist.

I am always fascinated to learn of the advances made at the amputation conferences that we attend. Many clients complain about pain after traumatic or elective amputation.  The current surgical procedures that are available will come as welcome news to those who suffer intolerable pain due to neuromas or phantom limb pain.

Boyes Turner's visit to the London Prosthetic Centre

Claire Roantree of the personal injury team and Sita Soni of Boyes Turner’s medical negligence team recently visited the London Prosthetic Centre in Kingston for an update on the work the clinic are undertaking in prosthetic technology.

London Prosthetics Company

It was great to catch up with lead prosthetist, Abdo Haidar on some of his current patients, the types of prosthetics available to them and the fantastic outcomes achieved with Abdo’s help. It was inspiring to hear how these individuals have taken steps to rebuild their lives with their bespoke prosthetic limb/s and the activities they have been able to get back to. We discussed the importance of follow up appointments and therapies to get the most out of the prosthetic limb and help the individual resume their pre-accident lifestyle as far as possible.

Abdo provided an update on current prosthetic technology including the SocketMaster, an innovative project that he is working on with other European organisations. Abdo explained the thinking behind the SocketMaster design being the creation of socket comfort-optimisation by a custom designed mechanical and electronic frame. The aim is for the design and construction of a well-fitted prosthetic socket to be completed within a few hours in the same day. It was fascinating to see the prototype and hear about the initial testing stage. The clinical trials of fifty lower limb amputees within the London Prosthetic Centre are to be completed during 2017.

SocketMaster - London Prosthetic company

Claire Roantree says “It is clear to see that Abdo’s clients significantly benefit from his unwavering enthusiasm and passion as a Prosthetist and his commitment to push the boundaries in prosthetic advancement. We were privileged to observe the work that goes into prosthetics at LPC.  I am excited to see how the trials go for Socket Master as this will be hugely beneficial to prosthetic wearers in the future.”

We look forward to continuing our relationship with the London Prosthetic Centre and keep a look out for future joint events.

For further information about amputation compensation claims talk to us confidentially and without any commitment or cost – call us on our freephone number 0800 015 4538 or email us at PIClaims@boyesturner.com.

If you would like further information about London Prosthetic Centre click here.

Neuro Rehabilitation training and networking day

On 6 October join Boyes Turner’s Claire Roantree and the Claims team for a free training day which will focus on improving the recovery and independence of brain injury survivors through effective rehabilitation. 

Talks will be

  • Head injury and disability; The clock starts ticking here…
    Dr Syed Masud, Consultant in Emergency Medicine and Pre Hospital Emergency Medicine, Clinical Lead for Thames Valley Air Ambulance
  • The immediate care of critically injured head injury patients
    Dr Richard Stacey, Consultant Neuro Surgeon John Radcliffe Hospital
  • Rehabilitation – why, when and where
    Dr Hamid Sultan, Consultant Neurological Rehabilitation, Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust and Circle Reading Hospital
  • Post traumatic growth after TBI (inc. a personal story from Headway Thames Valley)
    Dr Trevor Powell, Consultant Clinical Neuropsychologist, Berkshire Healthcare NHS Trust
  • Timely interventions: getting it right and reducing stress and strain
    Monica Collings, Independent Social Worker, Decision Tree
  • Role of a Neuro Case Manager
    Debbie Eaton, Brain Injury Case Manager, Debbie Eaton Case Management
  • Treatment of vestibular problems after brain injury
    Sally de la Fontaine, Physiotherapist Milestones
  • SMART rehabilitation
    Doreen Tighe, Clinical Specialist Occupational Therapist
  • Educational rehabilitation for brain injury survivors up to the age of 25
    Janata Ali, Special Educational Needs Specialist, Boyes Turner
  • The role of a Deputy
    Ruth Meyer, Partner, Head of Court of Protection, Boyes Turner

Lunch & refreshments provided

Successful interim hearing for victim of road traffic accident

Boyes Turner successfully opposed a defendant’s application to withdraw their admission of liability in a road traffic accident where they had admitted liability 3 years previously.

The defendant tried to withdraw their full admission of liability, but the judge accepted Boyes Turner’s arguments that no new evidence had been obtained and that the increase in the value of the pleaded case should not be a good reason for permitting the defendant to withdraw its admission. The judge agreed that Boyes Turner’s client would have been prejudiced if the defendant was allowed to withdraw it’s admission and it would not have been in the interests of justice. The court allowed the defendant to run allegations of contributory negligence but refused the defendant’s application to withdraw it’s admission.

Our specialist team of road traffic accident claim lawyers are experienced in obtaining the necessary information required to successfully bring a claim for road accident compensation and will give the representation you need at every stage including any criminal proceedings. We do not treat road accidents as everyday occurrences but as the life changing events that they often are for the victims.

Be Head Aware with Cerebra this July!

What is Head Awareness Week?

This year Cerebra are holding a fundraising week, Head Awareness Week, to help support the charity being able to listen, work with and learn from families and children with neurological conditions, both genetic and acquired.

What is Cerebra?

Cerebra is a charity that works to improve the lives of children and young people with neurological conditions, through research, information and direct on-going support.

They offer:

  • Information and advice on a number of topics
  • Regional officers who can help with form filling and letters, meetings, specific local information and activities
  • Sleep service – giving advice and support to families on a wide range of sleep issues
  • Free postal lending library for books and sensory equipment
  • Innovation centre- which designs bespoke equipment to meet family’s needs
  • Workshops and events across the UK

Cerebra sponsor six world leading university research departments which:

  • Aim to understand the causes of cognitive, behavioural and emotional problems experienced by children with rare genetic disorders
  • Help families access their legal rights and entitlements to health and social care
  • Help allow doctors to define measures for early interventions that would improve babies life chances
  • Aim to be able to predict mums at risk of early delivery and prevent it from happening so that fewer babies need neonatal ICU care and do not suffer the complications of prematurity
  • Focus on the wellbeing of the child and their families
  • Involve families affected by childhood disability in their research to ensure topics are relevant and important to families

Why are Boyes Turner supporting Head Awareness Week?

As specialists in complex, high value, personal injury and medical negligence claims arising from birth injury and neonatal negligencebrain and spinal injuries, we have seen for ourselves the difficulties that families face when caring for a severely disabled child. It takes time, energy and dedication to support a child with neurological disability. The work involved is a labour of love that inevitably takes its toll on family life, work and leisure activities. 

Boyes Turner’s clinical negligence and personal injury solicitors have over 20 years experience of handling cases of the utmost severity and complexity. Our expert legal team is one of the highest rated in the country. We are specialists at recovering maximum value damages awards which make a genuine difference to our clients’ lives. Our uniquely integrated, multi-disciplinary legal team supports our client families far beyond the process of making a claim. We handle the paperwork and administration associated with Court of Protection deputyship, protecting and enhancing the benefit of our clients’ compensation, maximising access to grants and benefits and securing essential special educational needs support at the right school for the child.

Many families caring for neurologically disabled children are not entitled to compensation. Only a few will have cause for a claim. Cerebral palsy can occur without negligent medical treatment. Neurological injury can follow infection, congenital and genetic disorders, brain tumours, strokes and traumatic accidents. Whether or not the circumstances of the injury give rise to compensation, disabled families need to know that they can turn to someone for ongoing support, information and counselling.

Boyes Turner are proud to be panel members of Cerebra and increase our knowledge of such conditions by sponsoring meaningful, targeted research. At Boyes Turner we support Cerebra’s aims wholeheartedly and are proud to raise awareness of the charity’s invaluable work.

Follow Cerebra Here

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