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< Case 1 of 6 >

It was the coldest day of the year. Dad and I were laughing as we walked. I remember the snow making that satisfying crunch under our feet. I’d always loved snow. Ever since that day, the sight of it makes me feel like I’m falling. 

I’m an ophthalmologist and my dad is a retired consultant, which means we’re never short of things to talk about. We’d been out for lunch and a few drinks, followed by our favourite country walk.

Nothing could have prepared us for what happened next. We rounded a corner to see a motorcyclist crumpled in the ditch, his mangled bike lying further down the road. 

In the icy cold he was deteruirating fast

My first thought blotted out everything else: we had to help. Helping people comes naturally when you’re medically trained. And the GMC say you should always help, as long as you feel competent to. We didn’t for a minute even think about this, we just switched straight into doing everything we could to save a life.

First, we called an ambulance. Then we repositioned the motorcyclist and checked his vitals, hoping to stabilise him until the paramedics arrived. But in the icy cold he was deteriorating fast. Despite our best efforts, he died in front of us.

That moment will stay with me forever. 

As will the moment, months later, when dad and I received coroner’s letters, asking us to give evidence at the inquest. 

I never felt so vulnerable and alone

Questions crowded into my head. Would my competence be called into question? What would that mean for my reputation? My career? I remember my skin going cold, that awful feeling of falling. I’ve never felt so vulnerable and alone.

A call to Medical Protection stopped the panic in its tracks. They assigned us a case manager, who helped us put together statements for the inquest and prepare for the legal process. I can’t express how reassuring it was to know we’d be supported if the motorcyclist’s family decided to take legal action. 

Our case manager was an absolute rock. He made sense of everything for us and had our backs every step of the way. He turned what could have been an incredibly stressful ordeal into a manageable journey.

I felt much calmer than I’d expected facing the courtroom

In the end, I was summoned as a factual witness. Of course, I had nerves facing the courtroom, anybody would. But thanks to the knowledge and confidence the team instilled in me, I felt much calmer than I’d expected. There were no nasty surprises and no criticism of my actions. And because my dad is also a member, he got the same priceless help and care that I did. 

Without Medical Protection, it could have been a very different story. If it hadn’t been for their help, who knows what toll the stress and uncertainty could have taken on me and my patients – and on our family.

‘From the moment you call, they take away a huge burden’

They say they’re always there for you, and they really are. From the moment you call, they take away a huge burden. The relief is indescribable. They know exactly what to do and they just get on with doing it. They are calm, kind and hugely knowledgeable. Doctors are employed throughout the organisation, so they know the medical field inside-out and they know how it feels, the responsibility we carry.

Now that it’s over, our overriding feeling is one of gratitude. We are thankful beyond words to have had Medical Protection by our side.

Get protection you can depend on from just £549*

This case is based on a real scenario, with some facts altered to preserve confidentiality.

*Cost shown is the annual membership price for a UK Medical Consultant working exclusively in the NHS. Subject to protection requirements and underwriting approval.

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