The following article is a personal reflection on becoming an OT expert witness, by...
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DipCOT, Full Member of Expert Witness Institute (MEWI)
I qualified as an Occupational Therapist in 1994 from Brunel University and have worked in the field of physical disability and mental health, predominantly at the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital Spinal Injuries Unit, Stanmore, Northwick Park Hospital, The Harrow Wheelchair Service and the Regional Electric Indoor / Outdoor Powered Wheelchair Centre, where I developed a special interest in postural deformity and mobility.
I have gained significant experience in Spinal Injuries, postural deformity and mobility since 1998. I was involved in setting up one of the first regional Electric Indoor Outdoor powered wheelchair services (EPIOC) covering the North West Thames area. This service provided NHS wheelchair services with specialised knowledge and training for therapists and social and physical assessments, rehabilitation, environmental recommendations and provision of equipment for their clients. I have also conducted clinical audits within my career resulting in publications and presentations.
I am currently in Independent Practice where I take referrals for the assessment and intervention of Occupational Therapy from a variety of medical professions, as well as the general public and working organisations. I see clients with a variety of physical conditions which include spinal cord injuries, Cauda Equina, back injury, general orthopaedic and medical / surgical conditions. I assess and provide detailed reports of their physical and psychological and environmental needs providing, where necessary, rehabilitation through purposeful activity as well as advice on care, equipment, environmental adaptations and modifications.
I joined Somek & Associates in 2003 as an Occupational Therapy expert; since then I have written many medico-legal reports which include:
• Quantum reports – Care and Rehabilitation and Occupational Therapy.
• Breach of duty reports – liability and fitness to practice.
I follow instructions from both Claimant and Defendant Solicitors and Insurers, and have given evidence in court.
Since 2012 I have also worked as an associate trainer for Somek & Associates, helping to train new associates.
I have undergone formal training in the medico-legal process and am fully aware of my responsibilities under the Civil Procedure Rules (CPR) pertaining to Expert Witnesses.