I was lucky enough to be invited to attend the amputee journey past, present and future conference hosted by Irwin Mitchell. The event was held at Old Trafford & as usual was a great day.
There were so many inspirational speakers in the morning it was quite overwhelming.
Wyn Jenkins an former client of Irwin Mitchell and a very active man had been debilitated following an infection he had got as a result of several operations involving a hip replacement. To improve his quality of life he’d opted to have an above knee amputation. Following the operation he struggled to rebuild his life and felt he hadn’t really got much support from the NHS to help him ‘push the boundaries’ so after reaching a low in his life pushed himself, until eventually he was able to get back on his bike and start cycling again. Wyn is now full of infectious enthusiam Ambassador for The Douglas Bader Foundation
Andy Reid, a veteran who’d lost both his legs and his arm in Afghanistan in 2009 astounded people with his recovery after spending only 2 weeks in hospital before returning home. He has now become a motivational speaker and is training to complete a 10k run. His ethos being he is a ‘survivior not a victim’.
Gordon McFadden an amputee of 18 months due to complications of talipes (clubfoot) some 54 years ago. All his life worked as an Engineer and a Carpenter. He has now dedicated his life to the amputee community and is the founder and Chairman of United Amputees.
Dave Tweed, was involved in a road traffic accident in 2001 and now works as Development officer and Manager for the EAFA, the Amputee Football Team.
Karl Nicholson who is now working with his colleagues towards an entry for the Invictus Games in Sledge Hockey (quite a scary game!).
In the afternoon the we heard about the very diverse service available for amputees dependending on whether they were via the NHS and the private sector.
Professor Jai Kulkarni, Consultant in Rehabilitation Medicine at University Hospital South Manchester explained how NHS funds were limited & provision for additional limbs were not readily available.
Whilst Mark Ledger, Principle Prosthetist at Blatchfords spoke about the different types of limbs available in the private sector and his work at Headley Court with veterans.
The penultimate speaker of the day was Dr Munjed Al Muderis. I felt humbled listening to him. Dr Muderis is quite a remarkable man who fled Sadam Hussain’s regime in Iraq after his collegue was shot dead when he refused to perform surgery to remove peoples ears. He escaped to Indonesia where he boarded an overcrowed boat to Australia . Once in Australia he was assigned to a refugee camp until he was eventually released in 2000.
Now settled in Australia Dr Muderid has now gone on to do some revolutionary work for amputees and is currently the world’s leading osseointegration surgeon.
Our final guest of the day was Michael Swain, who was one Dr Muderis patients He was one of the of hundreds of people whose lives had been changed by the surgery and could not praise his work enough.
The day was thoroughly enjoyable, although the one thing that stood out in my mind was the diversity between the resources available privately or via the Ministry of Defence against those on the NHS. It got me to thinking that there must be a better way that insurance companies and the NHS could work together.