This guest post is from my English friend Mr. Jim Loxley of My Compensation, who is getting as frustrated as I am about the state of affairs for injured and disabled people in both our countries.
As somebody who deals with disability discrimination cases, the topic of this blog really struck a chord with me when I first found it. I have a number of friends in the legal profession who are clinical negligence solicitors and personal injury experts who also now keep up to date here. P.I.S.S.D indeed. One of the issues is that precisely that, that there are so many issues. It seems alarmingly easy to write a great many articles poking holes in both UK and US politics and the processes surrounding how injured and disabled people are treated. During a conversation with a clinical negligence solicitor about these issues I decided that this time round I would browse the Internet and see what positive action had been taken toward such issues in order to put a more optimistic spin on this difficult and often frustrating topic.
In spite of my determination to bring a positive spin on the usual frustration which is disability law, I was met with a great deal of resistance by the search engines. Browsing around the internet slowly saw me meeting with bad news after bad news story. I'd be lying if I said there was no good news whatsoever but the instances were often for countries outside the US and UK and rarely were the stories tackling the problem at the root cause or making any significant contribution to a solution.
Perhaps inevitably, I found a story which was prime material for the theme of P.I.S.S.D. It transpired that a clinical negligence solicitor report published earlier this year showed that there were some 74 deaths of disabled patients within the UK’s NHS health service. It seemed that their deaths had been caused either directly or via complications of NHS staff members who were unaware of the best way to treat these disabled people. On occasion, NHS staff members had failed in their basic task of caring and actually outright ignored disabled people who needed their attention. The report issued by the clinical negligence solicitor also held a quote from a spokesperson for a UK disabled persons organisations stating that “too many parts of the National Health Service still do not understand how to treat people with a learning disability.” Alarming stuff
The real question here for me is: what can we do to move forward so that in the future there will be more positive news stories to find surrounding issues of disability? I think that blogs such as this one are a great way to the start raising awareness and many non-profit organisations and groups are doing a great job too. With a national health service currently a very real possibility for the US, I hope that consideration of disabled individuals is higher on the agenda than it appears to be on our NHS. I’m going to put some thought into what might be done to raise awareness of these issues but, in the meantime, I can only hope that our societies get better in the future.