‘Brave’ Amputee Uses Experiences To Help Others

Irwin Mitchell Backs West Midlands Amputee Support Group

23.09.2013

By Helen MacGregor

A caretaker who suffered horrific injuries when he fell from a ladder at work that resulted in him losing his leg, is using his experience to help others by setting up a support group for other West Midland based amputees.

Paul Felton, from Willenhall, had his left leg removed below the knee in February 2013 after his ankle was crushed in a fall in April 2011 and multiple infections prevented it from healing.

Concerned by the lack of help and support available to amputees in the region, Paul decided to turn what happened into a positive and has set up the West Midlands Amputee Support Group to help people talk about their experiences and share advice on coping with losing a limb.

The venture is being backed by Paul’s expert legal team at Irwin Mitchell who are currently working to secure him a rehabilitation and prosthetics package to give him the best quality of life possible.

The firm, which works with many seriously injured people in accidents on the road or at work, has agreed to sponsor flyers and put Paul in contact with other medical specialists who might be able to help.

Paul was putting up bunting for a Royal Wedding party at his place of work, when the ladder he was using moved and caused him to lose his balance. He landed hard on his left foot and then fell forward and bumped his head, causing him to become disorientated.

He was rushed to New Cross Hospital by ambulance, where X-rays revealed he had suffered a crushed left ankle, multiple fractures in his left leg, a sprained wrist and nasty gash on his forehead.

During the three weeks he was in hospital, he had pins inserted into his ankle to try and stabilise it and his leg plastered to try and heal the fractures.

However, despite intensive physiotherapy, Paul’s bones were not healing properly and he suffered months of infections that caused him agonising pain and left him unable to bear any weight on the leg. Eventually, in February 2013, it was decided the best option was to remove Paul’s left leg below the knee.

The wound has now healed and with extensive rehabilitation including physiotherapy, Paul is getting used to wearing a prosthetic leg.

The 55-year-old said: “The last two years have been very difficult as I’ve struggled to recover from my injuries.

“When I was told the best option was to have my leg amputated I felt such a range of emotions. Obviously I was very worried and concerned about how my life would change and I worried about the impact it would have on my wife.

“I thought there would be a support network that I could talk to and share my feelings with but I was very surprised to discover that there was nothing of that kind in the West Midlands area.

“I knew there must be other people like me desperate to talk to someone else who had recently been through a similar situation so I decided to take action and set something up.

“It’s early days, but I have already gained support from The Maltings Mobility Centre in Wolverhampton where I receive regular physiotherapy as well as local ring and ride services and local businesses who want to get involved.

“I hope in the coming weeks we’ll have enough interest to be able to hold the first support group bringing people together to share advice and make them feel that they do not have to go through the trauma of an amputation alone.”

Maria Littley, a workplace injury expert at Irwin Mitchell’s Birmingham office representing him, said: “Paul has shown tremendous bravery and determination to recover so quickly and use what happened to him as an opportunity to help others.

“We are proud to support the West Midlands Amputee Support Group and will help Paul with marketing materials and introducing him to our contacts at charities and medical groups that can assist him further with making the project a success.

“There will be numerous other people across the region in a similar situation to Paul and each of these will benefit from having someone else to talk to who can relate to what they are going through.

“Paul will need help with rehabilitation, accommodation, prosthetics and further care for the rest of his life due to his injuries and we are now working with his workplace’s insurers to secure him the funds for this.”

For further information please visit www.amputeesupport.co.uk.

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