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Long term package of rehabilitation has Thomas on the road to recovery after life-changing accident

Tom and Eve | Long Term Package of Rehabilitation has Thomas on the road to recovery


When Thomas was hit by a car on a pedestrian crossing, his life was forever changed in an instant.

Aged 26 at the time, he had a busy and fulfilled social life, working as an assistant manager in a city centre cocktail bar and spending the majority of his time in the company of others.

Enjoying both his home and work life, his long-term future was not really something he’d given much consideration to.

Then, on November 4, 2013, everything changed.

His long-term future was no longer something he could decide upon himself and life was no longer about choosing a place to live, a career to pursue, or interests to enjoy, it was about making the best recovery he could – and for that he needed a dedicated network of support.

Accident caused extensive long-term physical and psychological injuries

Thomas was rushed to hospital following his accident as he had suffered a head injury, chest injury, fractured ribs and pneumothorax, fractured left tibia and fibula, a fractured left scapular, damage to the liver and a perforated bowel.

When eventually leaving hospital two months after his accident, Thomas found himself isolated and alone in his city centre Birmingham flat.

He was diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and was suffering from a high degree of anxiety. His speech was affected, leaving him with a bad stutter, and he had problems with memory, organisation and planning, each of which had a major impact on his life and his recovery prospects at that stage.

He often struggled to sleep, having nightmares and waking up confused and shouting or screaming.

He also found it difficult to follow conversations, often choosing to avoid large gatherings, and struggled with his mood and temper when unable to do normal day to day tasks.

Personal injury claim enabled dedicated rehabilitation support package to be provided

Hudgell Solicitors took on Thomas’ case from another law firm and, at that stage, rehabilitation support had been minimal. It was quickly identified that as his physical treatment continued, he required a complete package of emotional and psychological support.

Experienced personal injury specialist Vicky Houghton, of Hudgell Solicitors, sought support from the outset from the defendant insurers in terms of covering the costs of a much-needed package of rehabilitation for Thomas.

Despite liability for the accident not being admitted at that stage, the insurers agreed to put the needs of Thomas first and cover the cost of his full rehabilitation.

A rehabilitation specialist, chosen for his extensive knowledge of the assessment and care of people with brain injuries, and also the impaTom in Hospitalct it has on their social, working and family relationships, was jointly appointed to manage the case and instructed to carry out an initial needs assessment and structure a package of ongoing rehabilitation support.

It was with this in mind that initial support, aimed at reducing Thomas’ daily pain with physio, assessing the full impact of his brain injury, developing a speech and language strategy to help him retain information and referring him to a neurological occupational therapist to look at how he could better manage his day to day life, was agreed.

A dedicated team of supporting specialists, including a consultant orthopedic surgeon, physiotherapist, speech and language therapist, neuropsychologist and cognitive behavioural therapist was also established to ensure Thomas had the support he required in all aspects of his life.

Recovery beyond expectation as Thomas completes first year of University studies

Almost four years on from his accident, Thomas has made remarkable progress.

He is soon to start the second year of his degree course in Occupational Therapy at Coventry University and hopes to possibly use his qualification, and own experience of recovering from a serious injury, to help others in similar situations in the future.

So much has been his progress, his rehabilitation case manager described him as ‘one of the most rewarding cases’ he has ever handled.

He said: “If someone had told me from our first meeting that Thomas would now have completed his first year at University I would never have believed it.

“He has made massive progress and is now hugely motivated to keep improving his mind and body. It has been fantastic to see and it has been a case I have been extremely proud to have been involved in.  Everybody involved deserves great credit for the positive impact they have had.”

Despite the huge progress, Thomas’ physical injuries are still impacting on him today. He required further surgery on his leg earlier this year, still walks with the aid of a stick, and remains unable to stand for long periods.

His psychological struggles continue also. He still suffers from nightmares from time to time, still has issues with his memory and needs support to manage day to day activities at home. However, major improvements have been made in all of these areas of his life.

Thomas feels positive, motivated and looking forward after support

Thomas said: “I can’t speak highly enough of the support I have received. After four very difficult years I do feel positive now and I feel like I can see the goalposts in sight.

“It is so difficult to start rebuilding your life after an injury like I suffered. I had a number of setbacks physically, suffering from septicemia and having complications a year later when my bowel collapsed again.

“I was initially in a wheelchair, and as I lived on the top floor of a block of flats, I suddenly found myself really isolated and cut off from life.  They were difficult times, and you do find it hard to be motivated and positive.

“The support I have received has been fantastic. It has actually helped me to identify a new goal in my life and given me a career ambition to become an occupational therapist, which I would never have considered before having my accident.

“Without doubt the speech and language therapy has been crucial to my recovery and confidence.

“I know I still face many difficulties ahead and due to the impact of my injuries many aspects of my life are uncertain, I am looking forward now.”

His partner Eve added: “Tom is now a very different person to the one I met after his accident. For the first year and a half that I knew him it was very difficult. I’d be his second memory and he’d become frustrated with his struggle to speak, and angry how he couldn’t do simple things.

“Now he is confident, motivated and positive about his life ahead and the opportunities for him.

“Without the support Tom has benefitted from as a result of his legal claim, he would not have been where he is today and would not have been in a position to go to University as he has.

“Motivation has been a key part of his recovery, as at times his motivation has dropped, but all those around him have been there to lift him.

“He now wants to go out every day and push himself. This would never have been possible without all of the support he has had from Hudgell Solicitors and all of those involved in his case.”

Lawyers and insurers put injury victim first despite ongoing legal case over liability

The dedicated package of rehabilitation support was only possible as it was funded through defendant insurers long before liability was admitted.

Solicitor Vicky Houghton said: “At Hudgell Solicitors, we know the key to the best recovery is through providing a complete, tailored rehabilitation support package, and thanks to the great support of insurers we have been able to do this for Thomas.

“The impact the programme of support overseen by the case manager has been tremendous, with Thomas now having completed a year’s study at Coventry University, and recently moving in with his partner Eve.

“Key to the success has been not only the case manager’s dedication to providing the right package of support and specialists, but also the willingness of the insurers to trust his expertise and knowledge and agree to cover the cost of updated support packages for Thomas.

“Crucially, this has ensured that we have been able to provide relevant and timely support, meaning there have been no breaks or delays in rehabilitation, ensuring continued progress over the years.

“His rehabilitation programme has adapted as he has progressed and had changing needs, and most recently has helped him prepare for life at University, and in becoming more independent in everyday activities at home.

“We are delighted that Thomas has come a very long way with the support of the case worker and the rehabilitation put in place, and that we are all continuing to work closely as a team to ensure he continues to receive a complete package of support and compensation to meet his significant needs for the foreseeable future.”

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06/09/2018 No Comments

Travel litigation and serious accidents abroad claims specialist Paul McClorry joins Hudgell Solicitors’ senior management team

Paul


Hudgell Solicitors has announced the appointment of leading travel litigation and serious injury lawyer Paul McClorry to its senior management team as it continues to expand upon its areas of work.

Mr McClorry, previously headed up internationally renowned travel litigation teams at Pannone and Slater & Gordon, and has been recruited to develop Hudgells’ travel litigation business, assisting victims of serious accidents abroad.

He has a broad range of expertise, having represented people who have been injured whilst on holidays in road traffic accidents, on aeroplanes, ships, trains and coaches.

This has seen him act for many people who have sustained catastrophic injuries, families who have lost loved ones and in group action claims, bringing to Hudgell Solicitors vast experience of handling cases across Europe and worldwide and extensive knowledge of complex jurisdiction and applicable law issues.

Leading legal publication the Legal 500 described him as ‘professional, patient and thorough’, whist the Chambers and Partners directory said he was ‘noted for his ability to handle cross-border personal injury claims which rest on jurisdiction and points of applicable law.

Mr McClorry, started his legal career in 1999 and joined Pannone in 2005, spending nine years with the firm before it was acquired by Slater & Gordon in 2014. With travel litigation teams coming together from a number of acquisitions at that time he was selected to head the department, managing a team of more than 30 people.

This work has seen him gain international recognition, developing strong contacts with lawyers and insurers across Europe and America.

He feels now is the perfect time to join Hudgell Solicitors, a firm he says has been making others in the claims sector sit up and notice with its recent developments, and a firm he feels he can add value to given his expertise and area of work.

“I have been aware of Hudgells growth and development for some time, and Neil Hudgell (managing director) and Amanda Stevens (chief executive) are both very well respected across the industry, so I was excited when the opportunity to join the firm arose,” he said.

“When I discussed plans with Neil and Amanda I was impressed with their ambitions for future growth in their strategy, their clear vision for developing new key areas of business, and I like many others have been impressed with the calibre of recent new additions to their team, alongside their many long-standing well-respected personal injury and clinical negligence solicitors.

“I am delighted to have been added to the senior management team as this will enable me to use my experience of managing teams to assist the continued growth of the business.

“There is a real opportunity for me to develop the travel litigation work for Hudgell Solicitors, with my focus on supporting people who suffer serious and catastrophic injuries abroad fitting very well with the high-value work the firm already does, supporting victims of life-changing injury towards recovery.

“Serious accidents in a foreign country present a myriad of issues and difficulties for victims and their friends and families, and it is very rewarding to be able to provide the legal expertise required to negotiate through the variable international laws and provide clients with the best possible access to the rehabilitation support and damages they need.”

Chief Executive Amanda Stevens says Mr McClorry’s appointment is another significant marker for the firm, adding further recognised industry-leading expertise to the daily offering to clients, and to the senior management team.

“Paul joins us with a wealth of experience, knowledge and understanding of travel claims litigation, importantly in the area of supporting those who suffer serious accidents abroad,” she said.

“He has been involved in ground-breaking cases with regard to deciding upon the applicable law – a vital element of personal injury claims abroad – and is another addition to our senior team who has the high-level experience to not only attract the right sort of cases to our firm, but to also provide another very senior voice at the management table in terms of the continued development and growth of the firm.”

Mr McClorry is a member of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL), the Pan-European Organisation of Personal Injury Lawyers (PEOPIL), the American Association for Justice (AAJ) and the Travel and Tourism Lawyers Association (TATLA) and is often contacted by the media for expert comment on travel litigation.

He will initially work from Hudgell Solicitors’ Leeds office in Park Place. His appointment follows the recent additions of specialist sports injuries claims specialist Josie Robinson and leading civil liberties solicitor Cyrilia Davies Knight in London.

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09/08/2017 No Comments

Former Manchester United Physio: Sir Alex Ferguson never picked players against my medical advice, but I’m not sure all other managers did the same

Treating client on pitch


By Rob Swire, former head physio at Manchester United.

In the highly competitive world of professional sport – and in particular Premier League football – there is huge pressure on results and winning, as at the end of the day that it is what it is all about.

Success defines a players’ career, and also that of managers. A failure to bring about results can see a manager quickly lose their job, and so therefore having their best players out on the field as often as possible is a major priority.

The relationship between a football club’s medical team and the coach or manager is therefore crucial.

The manager expects his head physio to ensure his players are kept fit, healthy, and ready to play as often as possible, therefore giving him the greatest chance of success on the field.

So, with so much at stake, who makes the final call on a player’s fitness when they’ve suffered an injury and are badly needed out on the field?

I was fortunate enough to work for a football manager for many years who trusted my experience and expertise and followed my advice on each and every occasion – no matter what the match or occasion, and its importance.

Sir Alex Ferguson was a manager under immense pressure to win major trophies each and every year at Manchester United, but in 15 years as the head physio at the club I can say that there was not a single occasion where he went against my advice over a player’s fitness and ability to play.

Even if a player came in at half-time and said he had suffered an injury that nobody had been aware of, and that I felt meant he really needed to be substituted, Sir Alex would not question it – no matter how important the player.

Sir Alex was a manager who trusted his staff to make decisions for the right reasons, and as a manager, he was always interested in protecting the player’s welfare long term. He was very good at that.

Obviously, I was at Manchester United for 23 years, spending 15 years as head physio, and in all but one final year under David Moyes, I worked for the same manager, so I can’t comment first-hand on what happened elsewhere.

Anecdotally, I heard  frequent talk amongst physios at other clubs, raising their concerns about managers who did not take the physios advice, encouraging players to return to action earlier than was suggested, or urging them to play on against medical advice.

In any walk of life, such as business, some people think they know better than everybody else in every aspect of the job. Football is certainly no different, and I would imagine it is the same across many other sports.

For me, that is never the way it should be, and as I say, I was very fortunate to work with Sir Alex.

No matter what the occasion, no matter which player, if I said he shouldn’t play, he didn’t.

Mistreatment of injuries can be devastating and career-ending

Since moving on from Manchester United in 2014, I have become more involved in providing expert opinions in legal cases where the medical treatment of players from many sports has come into question. Negligent treatment is a massive issue, and mistreatment can prove career ending.

There is a huge responsibility on medical professionals to get things right from the start, and in this modern age, very few injuries should bring about an early end to a sporting career.

 

Go back a few years however and an anterior cruciate ligament injury could often have proved career-threatening. Nowadays, with the right treatment and rehabilitation – including giving the player sufficient recovery time before returning to injury – a full recovery can more often than not be made.

I mention that full recovery time because again it comes down to making the right long-term decisions. Returning to action too early can cause an injury to reoccur, or lead to new, additional injuries being suffered. You have to take a long term view.Rob Swire

This was perhaps an area I was again fortunate in at Manchester United.

Being the head physio for so long, I got to know the players and their bodies, what pressures they were susceptible to and even at what periods in a season they may be more at risk of injury. This enabled me to bring in injury prevention measures with people like Ryan Giggs, a hugely talented international player and key squad member who I had worked with many years and knew very well.

At many clubs now, coaches and managers chop and change year to year, and at the very top level it can mean clubs change their entire medical team, as they travel with the specific manager.

They may be first-class medical teams, but they lose that historical knowledge and for me, would therefore lose some ability to reduce the threat of injury to some players.

Professional sportsmen and women understand the need to care for their bodies.

Perhaps many people will wonder what role a player has in making a decision as whether or not to play with an injury, or to perhaps declare themselves fit early in order to secure selection for a big game – a cup final perhaps.

Although we’d all perhaps find this understandable, I have found that, at the top level at least, players are understanding of the situation and rarely need convincing not to take a risk.

They know their bodies, know the potential consequences of playing with injury, and make the right decision.

Obviously, it is often also not a sudden occurrence.

As a physio, if I knew a player was unlikely to be fit to take part in a certain occasion, I’d be talking to them about it in the weeks prior, and helping them to understand and accept the situation they were in. It is all part of the job.

Role of medical teams and treatment is more important than ever

Having worked in top-level professional football for more than 20 years, what I can say, without any doubt, is that players’ bodies are being placed under increasing pressures year after year.

With each passing year they become fitter, faster and stronger. Strength and conditioning and fitness experts are used, and because levels are improving across the board, the physical demand on players’ bodies is increasing.

It is therefore paramount, in my opinion, that sportsmen and women are properly cared for, and that protecting their long-term careers is the priority.

As I said, that was something Sir Alex always had at the forefront of his mind, and as a manager under huge pressure, at the highest level of professional sport, it was a fine example to set.

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27/07/2017 No Comments

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