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Since qualifying as a solicitor in 1998 I have specialised in medical law, handling a vast array of cases including cerebral palsy, delays in diagnosis of cancer, delay in diagnosis and inappropriate treatment of spinal injuries and surgical errors.
I have obtained over £21 million in damages for my clients and their families, but I realise it is not just a matter of obtaining damages, most clients want answers from the doctors as to what happened, why it happened and is there any treatment that can help them. To many this is far more important than awards of damages. My clients’ objectives for pursuing cases are my primary concern.
From a very young age, I either wanted to be a policewoman or a lawyer - I don’t know why really, except that I wanted to help people resolve issues and make good any wrongs! I therefore chose Law as an A Level and found studying the law so interesting that I went on to study Law at Hull University. I've never looked back.
Quite often in medical law, it is difficult to prove a successful claim because it is such a complex area and therefore a number of cases are not successful, in terms of recovering damages. However what is often more rewarding is finding out answers for my clients as to what happened and why, and to reassure them it wasn’t their fault. My clients, despite not having any awards for damages, are satisfied and appreciative as it has helped them move on from often traumatic circumstances. This is what I find rewarding.
Irwin Mitchell is a superb firm and I am very lucky to be surrounded by genuinely lovely people, all excel in their field and I have learned a great deal from being here. In addition Irwin Mitchell is dedicated to supporting charities, locally and nationally and I have had the pleasure to be involved with this. It makes it all worthwhile.
I have a number of interests including diving, skiing and partaking in the odd extreme activity such as sky-diving or bungee jumping. But my main love is football and I am an ardent Norwich City supporter - if only I could cook as well as Delia Smith! I recently also took a year out before joining Irwin Mitchell during which time I went travelling around the world, spending several months in South Africa volunteering in the Kwa Zulu-Natal region providing HIV education and caring for orphaned children.
I'm pleased to be supporting Wheelchair Sports Hull. For more information about this organisation, go to www.wheelchairsportshull.co.uk.
"Sarah Coles has been our solicitor for the last 7 years and was very successful in settling our case. It had been a very difficult time for all the family throughout what was a very long and arduous time but throughout Sarah worked above and beyond, was a true professional, and always put our interests first.
"Sarah's compassion, insight and empathy were second to none and she is in herself an amazing role model to everyone around her. I would not hesitate to recommend Sarah and her team to anyone who finds themselves requiring their services." - Julie, Client
"Irwin Mitchell pursued a medical negligence case for my daughter's birth and we had full support all the way from Sarah Coles and the team. I feel that the company go that extra mile to always keep you informed of progress. My family and I are more than happy with the services that were provided throughout the case - we would definitely use Irwin Mitchell again and would also recommend to others." - Stacey Keira Perkins, Client
“I am incredibly excited and nervous to not only take part in such a great event, but to also raise awareness for a very important subject. It is important that, as a society, we normalise mental health, reducing the stigma attached to it, so people feel like they are safe to say when they need help.
“My nephew, Blythe, took his own life at age 22 as a result of suffering from depression and I want to raise awareness to stop others suffering the pain he suffered and the pain my family and I suffer on a daily basis. Leeds Mind have been a great support to me and others in this position.
“The training for the event has not been easy and it has been very challenging for someone new to running. At times, it is only my commitment to raising awareness of this issue and to make my nephew proud of me, that is getting me into my running shoes when it is dark, wet and cold outside. I hope people are able to support us by visiting one of the team’s donation pages and giving what they can.”
“Encephalitis can be caused by an infection of the brain, or by the immune system attacking the brain in error, and this can kill or leave people severely disabled. If treated promptly, however, these problems can be avoided or significantly reduced, as we’ve seen with clients we have represented in the past.”
“The recognition of development and training for sepsis by HEE is hugely welcomed. Any steps that can be taken to raise awareness, both within the medical profession and the public, are enormous.
“I have worked on behalf of many clients – children and adults - who have sadly experienced a delay in diagnosis of sepsis and with tragic results, so it is promising to see that education about the condition has been recognised as a high priority that currently needs improving.
“Thorough training and education for all NHS health and care workers can potentially work towards saving thousands of lives. Sepsis can be difficult to diagnose so in increasing awareness and knowledge for healthcare professionals, key signs and symptoms in patients will be spotted quicker which can make all the difference between surviving and living.”
Dean and Kirsty are a truly inspirational couple who have overcome challenges which would have left many people wanting to give up.
Not diagnosing and treating Dean’s infection that led to sepsis, early enough changed his life forever and although nothing can turn back the clock, the award of damages he will receive means he will be able to afford suitable and different prosthetics throughout his life and the on-going rehabilitation he will need as his remaining joints become over used, so he can be as active as possible and help in the bringing up of his new baby.
It’s important that lessons are learned from this sepsis case to improve the diagnosis and treatment of others in future.
Through our close work with The UK Sepsis Trust we have seen the urgent need to promote the signs of sepsis and provide early care in the UK and hope that this awareness campaign will help save thousands of lives and improve the outlook for all of those affected.
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