The following article is a personal reflection on becoming an OT expert witness, by...
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Grad Dip Physiotherapy, SRP, MSCP, Full Member of Expert Witness Institute (MEWI)
I qualified as a Physiotherapist in 1990 and have specialised in the field of spinal cord injury since 1995, having worked at the Duke of Cornwall Spinal Treatment Centre throughout this period; as such I have extensive experience in the management of patients with spinal cord injuries at all levels.
Initially my role at the Spinal Treatment Centre was that of inpatient physiotherapist, providing rehabilitation from the acute stage of injury up to discharge.
Since 2000 I have been working with the multi-disciplinary outpatient team to provide the physiotherapy service offered to those with spinal cord injury who are living in the community. This involves:
• Assessment of changing function and care needs for all spinal cord injury groups, from recently injured to long-term injured
• Running review clinics jointly with nurse specialists
• Running joint orthotic/physiotherapy clinics
• Providing physiotherapy support to Consultant clinics
• Advising community-based therapists and care staff re on-going physiotherapy needs
• Providing physiotherapy assessment and management advice regarding rehabilitation needs, home exercise programmes, gait re-education and other functional skills, spasticity management, hydrotherapy and posture/seating.
I joined Somek and Associates in 2001 and have since completed many medico-legal reports in spinal injury cases for clients with paraplegia and tetraplegia, including those with ultra-high, complete and incomplete lesions. I prepare reports for both adults and children and accept instructions from both claimant and defendant solicitors and insurers.
I have undergone formal training in the medico-legal process provided by Bond Solon and am fully aware of my responsibilities under Civil Procedure Rules (CPR) pertaining to Expert Witnesses; I have had the opportunity to give evidence in Court.