Surviving Spinal Injury – The Journey

After the success of the Brain Injury Conference in 2016, Lanyon Bowdler hosted another event entitled Surviving Spinal Injury – The Journey which was held at the Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt  Hospital, Oswestry.

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Arriving to refreshments, the day of informative talks started off with a welcome from host, and partner at Lanyon Bowdler, Dawn Humphries followed by a brief a history of the development of spinal injury services in from Professor Waigh El-Masri.  One of Professor El-Masri’s many achievements was to found and set up Transhouse which is an organisation that offers transitional housing for patients with spinal cord injuries (SCI) and provides them with the skills they need to live a more independent life after being in hospital. We were lucky enough to hear from Transhouse’s CEO Fae Dromgool later in the day.

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A moving talk was given by David Chapple, Trustee of Horatio’s Garden. Mr Chapple set up the charity, which creates beautiful and accessible gardens in NHS spinal centres across the country, in memory of his son Horatio. The RJAH look forward to having a garden designed by the charity at the hospital.
The morning programme took on a clinical angle regarding spinal injuries with talks from Dr Clive Bezzina, who spoke about rehabilitation, Mr Naveen Kumar gave a most thorough and in-depth talk on the management of spinal cord injuries. Mr Aheed Osman provided a very detailed presentation on the recent advances in SCI management, covering worldwide research projects.

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Michelle Bunyan provided an informative overview of case management and how it requires a specialist approach when a client has a spinal injury. Jonathan Fogerty, Trustee of the charity SPIRIT spoke about the charity’s international reach which aims to improve the treatment and care of those with SCI, having sustained a SCI himself in his teenage years.

After lunch, host and associate at Lanyon Bowdler, Emma Broomfield welcomed Fae Dromgool from Transhouse to start the afternoon of talks.

Attendees were captivated by the story of Yu Guo who is also a former patient of the RJAH and whose case was successfully won by Lanyon Bowdler’s Dawn Humphries and No5 Chambers’ barrister Chris Bright QC. After a complicated case involving a dancing move, Dawn and Chris secured her a settlement to provide for her future care. Yu Guo took the time to thank Dawn and Chris for all their hard work and expressed how pleased she was with the way they conducted her case.

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Attendees were further treated to a talk from another former RJAH patient, guest speaker Darren Edwards. After being involved in a serious fall on 6 August 2016, whilst rock climbing in North Wales, Darren was left paralysed from the chest down. He shared his journey from being airlifted to Stoke hospital, to founding the charity Strength Through Adversity, which aims to provide opportunities for disabled people in Shropshire to take part in sporting activities.

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A day of enlightening, educational and at times both emotional and entertaining talks, was rounded off by a Q&A chaired by Mr Chowdhury.

I think I can say on behalf of all who attended that the day was a great success and provided an important insight into the legal, medical and practical help that exists for those with spinal injuries. A particular highlight was the demonstration of a robotic walking aid and an insight into how these can assist those with spinal injuries by Stephen Ruffle of ReWalk Robotics.