Somek & Associates' Jessica Thurston, Head of Medico-legal Operations and...
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BSc (Hons) Occupational Therapy
I qualified as an Occupational Therapist in 2004. I have worked both in the public and private sector. I started my professional career working in the NHS completing a rotation in physical disabilities, before specialising in paediatrics in 2007. I was the lead occupational therapist for the under-fives with complex needs and the upper limb clinic at Lewisham University Hospital and I completed Bobath training in 2011 during my time in this role.
In 2013 I set up my own business, as an independent paediatric occupational therapist, specialising in treating children with complex neurological conditions. I have gained specialist skills and training associated with treating children with cerebral palsy and in 2020 I treated cranipagus twins that were separated at Great Ormond Street Hospital. Due to my client base, I work with families going through the litigation process following an e.g. brain injury to their child.
I have an interest enabling and empowering these families to feel they have some control in this process from a therapy perspective. I am renowned for demonstrating empathy and compassion and encouraging the child’s family to engage in the therapy process.
I have skills in paediatric manual handling training, equipment adaptations, wheelchair and static seating systems and bespoke hand splinting. I assess and provide visual programs to develop dressing and play skills. I also provide bespoke training packages to the child's caregivers for them to gain an increased understanding of the child's difficulties, the importance of participation in the child's life and how the carer can assist the child in daily activities.
I have a passion for enabling children with brain injuries to participate in activities and work diligently to achieve this through researching for a specialist toy/device and working closely with the child's caregiver to enable them to facilitate the child in meaningful play.
I enjoy being creative and in my career this has enabled me to assess and make bespoke hand splints for children with a variety of conditions. This includes cerebral palsy, Erb's palsy, hypermobility, neuromuscular conditions and biomechanical deformities.
In 2017 I became an associate for Somek. I have used my in-depth knowledge and experience to prepare expert witness reports for children and young adults. I have experience of costing for past and future occupational therapy and care for both personal injury and medical negligence claims.
I accept instruction 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.