The following article is a personal reflection on becoming an OT expert witness, by...
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BSc (Hons) Occupational Therapy, MSc module in Injection Therapy for the Upper Limb
I qualified as an occupational therapist in 2002 from Brunel University, west London. During my first rotational positions, I developed broad knowledge and skills in areas such as neurology, stroke, chronic pain and acute medicine. Subsequently, I have specialised in hand therapy for a number of years. In this time I have gained a wealth of experience within hand therapy and maintain evidence based practice delivery.
In my current NHS role as a team leader, I co-ordinate the hand therapy service. I am a confident practitioner, working autonomously within an extended scope role alongside hand surgeons. I run therapy led clinics weekly, for patients pursuing elective operations or requiring conservative treatments. In addition, I authorise diagnostics such as X-ray and nerve conduction studies. I carry a large caseload of patients who have sustained hand trauma injuries, complex regional pain syndrome, fibromyalgia, burns, neurological upper limb complaints, osteoarthritis and rehabilitation following elective surgery. Treatments I offer include bespoke splints, ergonomic advice, activity modification techniques, aids and adaptations, scar management and rehabilitation exercise and functional restoration advice.
I am an active member of the British Association of Hand Therapy and regularly attend and lecture on courses.
My experience within the hand therapy specialism provides me with the clinical skills and prognostic knowledge to provide expert opinions in litigation claims. The integration of my clinical involvement in both the NHS and private sector, providing therapeutic input to a varied and wide range of patient population enables me to fully recognise the clinical issues in cases, incorporating clinical evaluation and analysis.
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.