I recently attended a conference and was awestruck by the inspirational people I met from paralympian Stephanie Reid who lost a foot as a teenager in an accident but conquered her disability to become a world champion to the double amputee who was walking without any aids. I saw a video of a triple amputee who with the use of prostheses could go to the beach and surf with only one hand!
These were very courageous people; people who were passionate and intent on living life to the maximum and fulfilling their dreams despite the loss of their limbs. There were plenty of other people at the conference too, from surgeons specialising in amputation to leading designers of prosthetics who were equally as passionate, constantly trying to come up with cutting edge technology to help make these dreams come true.
The challenges faced by those who lose a limb cannot be overstated; the normal activities of daily living, such as standing, walking or holding something that we all take for granted can become impossible for them. It is fair to say that no able-bodied person can quite imagine what that feels like.
Seeing and hearing from these remarkable people reminded once again of just how important it is for those who have lost limbs to have access to the right support and prosthetics. It reminded me of why I and other injury lawyers up and down the land do the job we do, fighting for the injured people who through no fault of their own have lost limbs.
Insurers are often quick to write off prosthetic devices and fight against claims for prostheses for all sorts of reasons; they are too expensive, they have not been tried before or simply because, in their opinion, the injured person does not need such devices, and so the list goes on. But with technological advances prosthetics can make a world of difference to those who have lost limbs; they are able to live and work in most cases as their able-bodied counterparts.
In my experience and from all the amputees I have met and seen, prosthetics often gives them a second chance to life and that is priceless. Of course, the conference also brought home the sad reality that those who have access only to limited resources will not be able so lucky, but we must do everything in our power to continue in our fight for access to justice. Even the most hard-nosed insurer would have been left feeling nothing but admiration for those courageous people at the conference.