The following article is a personal reflection on becoming an OT expert witness, by...
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BSc (Hons) Occupational Therapy, Dip Hand Therapy, PG Cert Burns
I qualified as an occupational therapist from Oxford Brookes University in 2006 and have predominantly worked in the field of burns and plastics. I have specialisms in burns injuries and hand therapy and in-depth experience working with both adult and paediatric cases.
I am confident treating a range of adult and paediatric conditions including hand trauma, elective conditions and congenital hand conditions, burns (acute, sub-acute and reconstructive), epidermolysis bullosa, osteogenesis imperfecta, neurological upper limb conditions, rheumatology and specialist plastics cases for example Harlequin Ichthyosis and graft versus host.
My current role is lead occupational therapist for hand therapy at Whiston Hospital, Merseyside. In my current role, I lead the adult and paediatric neuro upper limb clinic, which involves assessing and listing children and young people for botulinum toxin injections, where appropriate. Prior to this, I have worked in both adult and paediatric burns centres and orthoplastic hand units, nationally.
I have expertise in assessing and splinting all areas of the body. In addition, I have specialist skills in scar management and have led in scar management and skin camouflage clinics. My work environment has been varied including outpatient clinics, inpatients, operating theatres, schools and client’s homes. I have experience using a range of standardised and non-standardised outcome measures. This has been particularly beneficial for when I have been involved in the collection of data for research studies. I have developed care pathways and have experience establishing a new service, which included the creation of guidelines, teaching material and best evidenced protocols.
I have obtained my post graduate certificate in burn care, diploma in skin camouflage, BAHT levels one and two and LSEBN training for psychological aspects of burn injury. In September 2019 I obtained my level 7 diploma in hand therapy. I remain active with the Burns Therapy Interest Group and BAHT and liaise with other professionals to ensure best quality patient care. In addition to my clinical role, my work with Harrison Training has allowed me to expand my skills in teaching and I presently teach on paediatric upper limb splinting courses nationwide.
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.