The following article is a personal reflection on becoming an OT expert witness, by...
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• Neurological Conditions including: Brain Injury, Stroke, MS, Vestibular Disorders
I qualified as a chartered physiotherapist in 2004, having completed my studies at Brunel University. I worked at Frenchay and Southmead hospitals (North Bristol NHS Trust) for 3 years, rotating round the different specialisms and gaining additional experience in rheumatology, women’s health, and hand therapy.
Since 2007, I have worked in neurology, spending five years at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery in London, where I had specialist training and clinical support from very highly skilled physiotherapists. I have worked with patients at all stages of the rehab journey, from diagnosis to end of life and have worked as part of a multidisciplinary team on neurosurgical, stroke rehabilitation, and neurological rehabilitation wards. This has included close work with other members of the team, including postural and seating assessments with occupational therapists and tracheostomy, and facial assessment and treatment with speech and language therapists. I am confident in the assessment and treatment of patients presenting with neurological symptoms as a result of stroke, brain tumour, brain haemorrhage, traumatic brain injury, long-term neurological conditions (multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease), disorders of consciousness, spinal cord injury, and neuromuscular conditions.
More recently, I worked part time in a Sue Ryder Neurological Care Centre, where I was responsible for the assessment and treatment plans for residents with high levels of disability and care needs. Spasticity was a common issue requiring careful assessment and recommendations for both physical and medical management.
In addition, I have worked in a specialist clinic for the assessment and provision of functional electrical stimulation for gait and neuromuscular electrical stimulation as part of upper limb rehabilitation. I am also confident in the assessment and treatment of central and peripheral vestibular disorders.
I set up my own private practice in 2017, which focuses on the assessment and treatment of patients with neurological conditions in their own home. I enjoy the variety of this work, which includes patients with long term progressive neurological conditions and catastrophic brain injury from varying causes. I set goals with my patients and support and encourage them to achieve these.
I accept instructions from both claimant and defendant solicitors and insurers. I have undergone formal training in the medico-legal process and am fully aware of my responsibilities under Civil Procedure Rules (CPR) pertaining to expert witnesses.