March 20, 2019
A freak accident left a former teaching assistant mostly wheelchair-bound, but the court heard that other factors might have been involved as well.
40-year-old Kerry Shaw worked at Grimsby primary school as a teaching assistant in 2013 when the incident occurred. Crouched down in the classroom, a five-year-old kicked her in the back and led to a debilitating injury.
In constant pain from the nerve damage, Kerry depends on a wheelchair to get around, and it's left her severely disabled.
The first doctor Kerry saw, suspected nothing serious and gave her painkillers, but the next day her condition worsened, and she went to out-of-hours GP, Dr. Andrew Stead at the Princess of Wales Hospital in Grimsby.
Dr. Stead thought no further testing was required and sent her home as well. Further deterioration of her condition drove Kerry to see doctor number three, who realized something serious was going on.
The mother of six suffered a prolapsed spinal disc that damaged and compressed the nerves in her lower back; her life changed forever.
Consequently, Kerry sued Dr. Andrew Stead and told the court how she struggled with mobility when she went to see Dr. Stead. The High Court judge agreed with Kerry and found that Dr. Stead missed the “red flag” symptoms of her condition, while the doctor denied any blame for her current medical condition.
In a separate hearing, Dr. Stead will dispute his liability for compensation that if awarded, could be substantial.
But Kerry didn’t let the situation get her down, as she found another way to realize her dreams in 2017. She got selected out of a group of 18 people at the RAF Cranwell to receive a “reaching for the sky” scholarship for disabled people where they learn how to fly airplanes.
Kerry wanted to share her story and show other disabled people that they shouldn’t give up, that there are opportunities for them to realize their potential and further themselves.
The job market is hard for disabled people, with statistics reflecting as much. Only 46.5% of working-age people in the UK are employed, while employed adults with learning difficulties come in at a staggeringly low 6%.
According to the charity Scope, more disabled people leaving the workforce than joining it. Ignorant employers, inaccessible workplace and transport along with a lack of career support all contribute to the problem.
On the other hand, if a disabled person does join the workplace, they are likely to be paid less than their non-disabled counterparts. In the period from 1997 until 2014, the salary gap for women was 7% and for men a shocking 13%.
When it comes to inspiration, a 7-year-old disabled girl dished it out in spades when she finished a 5k marathon last year.