Southampton Man Instructed Military Lawyers To Help Him ‘Move Forward’ With His Life
A Royal Navy engineer medically discharged after being diagnosed with a serious skin condition has spoken out after lawyers secured him a settlement.
Thomas Sharpe, from Southampton, served in The Royal Navy’s Fleet Air Arm as an air engineer technician. Around seven months into his service, he was found to be experiencing symptoms of dermatitis.
He was medically discharged around three years later following a diagnosis of irritant contact dermatitis.
After his discharge in August 2017, Thomas, 31, instructed military injury experts at Irwin Mitchell to investigate whether his dermatitis was as a result of conditions he faced in The Navy.
Following legal submissions, Irwin Mitchell successfully secured a six-figure sum from the Ministry of Defence for Thomas. The funds will ensure he has access to the specialist treatment he requires while allowing him to move forward with his life in a new job. The MoD denied liability.
Expert Opinion“The last five years have been tough for Thomas, who has lost out on future career opportunities in a job he loved due to his skin condition.
Irritant contact dermatitis is often caused by frequent exposure to a particular substance and a number of those affected will be exposed to the irritant at work, which we believe is the case with Thomas.
Dermatitis is a particularly unpleasant condition that can lead to infection in serious cases. It affects people both physically and psychologically, and while we can’t change what Thomas has been through, we’re pleased to have helped secure him a settlement while will hopefully assist him in moving on with his life as best he can.” Chelsea Towner, Military Injuries Lawyer
Thomas enlisted in The Royal Navy in November 2013, aged 22.
He first reported symptoms of dermatitis in June 2014 however at the time he didn’t know the cause.
Two years later, in June 2016, he was temporarily medically downgraded from his role of air engineer technician due to his diagnosis. He was subsequently discharged from The Navy in August 2017, at the age of 25, after three years and nine months service.
Thomas now works for a train company in Reading as a train engineer.
He said: “I was so excited when I joined The Navy as it had always been a career I’d looked up to. After a few years into my service, my skin became really bad and I didn’t know it was as a result of the materials I was coming into contact with at work until my diagnosis.
“Shortly after I was diagnosed with dermatitis, I was downgraded from my role, and then medically discharged two years later. I was devastated.
“Since then, it’s been a struggle some days to see where my future lies. I’ve spent the last few years working for rail companies, and while I miss The Navy, I’m determined to move forward with my life and not let my condition define me or stop me from doing what I want.
“I hope that by sharing my story, others will see there’s help and support out there.”
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