Have you been refused funding for treatment?

No money for treatment

Treatment funding refused

In the United Kingdom we’re probably all guilty of the assumption that the National Health Service (NHS) is there to meet all our healthcare needs.
With the increasing financial pressures on taxpayers’ money, medical conditions and procedures that were routinely provided by the NHS in the last century are no longer available and many of the operations are now regarded as purely cosmetic and funding is consequently declined.
Unfortunately, as a result of these refusals a certain number of patients who have a genuine clinical need for treatment will be excluded from treatment they really need.
If your doctor believes you have condition that would benefit from treatment he can refer you to the “Exceptional Cases Panel” or Clinical Review Group, to consider your case history.
In cases where this happens and where the condition is visible or cosmetically distressing, the panel will frequently ask for photographs to support the application or in cases of mobility or neurological spasm, possibly video evidence to assist their decision making.
Many of the photographs submitted are “snaps” taken on the family point and click camera and are badly exposed and out of focus, some even missing crucial parts of the subject.
To get the best possible representation of your condition requires the expertise of a highly skilled and qualified clinical photographer. Their knowledge of anatomy and physiology enables them to demonstrate the significant aspects of your problem and they will ensure your dignity, privacy and confidentiality during and after the process.
Many of the conditions being refused are not only visually distressing for the patient but have emotional and intimate connotations which can have life changing consequences.
The operations being refused range from colloquially named “nose jobs” (rhinoplasty), “bat ears” (pinnaplasty), various breast procedures such as reduction, augmentation or implant replacement and “tummy tuck” abdominoplasty and include life changing surgery such as joint replacements.
If you are referred to an Exceptional Cases Panel make sure that you engage the services of a Registered Medical Illustration Practitioner who operates within the Code of Conduct of the Institute of Medical Illustrators and will protect your privacy, dignity and confidentiality.

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A little finger ache should not be ignored

Little finger

Perfect little finger

Several weeks ago, I was having a quiet drink in a local hostelry with a group of friends when one of them, Sandra, returned from the ladies toilets with tears rolling down her face and squeezing and wringing her hand. It seems that a broken catch had allowed the heavy toilet door to swing shut with her little finger between it and the doorpost, fortunately it hadn’t been wide open or the consequences could have been significantly worse, possibly resulting in the loss of her finger.

After spending the next hour with her hand in and out of a bucket of ice, the pain and bruising was so extensive that we all said she should get it checked out at the local emergency department, to ensure the bone wasn’t broken or circulation compromised, but not being one to make a fuss in our typically British way she just went home with her husband.

The next night Sandra’s hand was a magnificent array of colours from the bruising and still very painful except for above the top joint, which was totally numb, but she was in quite good spirits and when asked why she didn’t get it examined explained how she’d just had expensive nail veneers put on that day and really hadn’t wanted to have them taken off by hospital staff to inspect her injury.

Now, nearly eight weeks later Sandra’s finger is still numb and she complains of tingling in the rest of her hand, even though the bruising has completely gone. Her work requires her to use a keyboard and ever since the accident she’s having trouble typing properly because she can’t tell if she’s hit the key or not.

But the thing that has distressed her most was discovering that another customer had previously received a similar injury from the same broken catch and despite it having been reported to the staff no action had been taken to repair it before her injury occurred.

Knowing that part of my professional work involves taking photos of injuries for personal injury claims Sandra approached me, saying that since this was now an injury caused by somebody’s failure to act, she was considering making a claim against the landlord and would I take a picture of her finger.

Looking at her hand there really was nothing visible for me to see and I explained that she would need to see a neurologist to determine how much damage the nerves had suffered or if there would be any permanent loss of feeling and that any claim now made would be totally reliant on his clinical evidence.

This anecdote demonstrates well how important it is to consider the implications of even the most insignificant injury.

Nobody can predict the outcome of any accident and in this case it’s unlikely anyone would have rushed to photograph the offending door catch or the victim’s finger on the night, but with the subsequent knowledge of it not being the first instance of the problem and the potential long term effects of the loss of sensation in the finger the value of photography to document accidents cannot be over emphasised.

If you are unfortunate enough to suffer injuries as a result of an accident one of the most important things you should do is make sure you record every detail of the incident and any visible trauma to your body.

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Looking after your most valuable asset – your body

Antique valuables

Material value

Your insurance company may well advise you to take photographs of your most prized possessions, jewellery, antiques, and store them safely in case they are stolen or damaged.

But what do you do about the most precious item you possess, your body?

The desire to modify and enhance the body is becoming increasingly popular, ranging from simple muscle paralysing injections to reduce wrinkles and fillers to plump out skin that has lost its elasticity, to extensive and major surgical procedures like breast surgery and tummy tucks.

If you’re about to embark on this journey of change and enhancement you really need to consider having your own before treatment pictures taken and by using a qualified registered clinical photographer you can assured that the pictures will be taken and stored in a professional, confidential way which respects your dignity and privacy.

These photos will be your point of reference of how you look before anything is done and because they have been authenticated by a clinical photographer are admissible as evidence in a court of law.

The popularity of these aesthetic and cosmetic procedures has become the focus of attention following the recent breast implant scandal.

Anyone who has undergone pre assessment for plastic surgery will know how importantly the surgeon regards photography; in fact many of them will not operate unless pictures have been taken before surgery.

Although this will sometimes be for the purpose of planning your operation, most of the time these photos will be used for the surgeon’s protection, in fact his insurance company probably demand this record be made in case something goes wrong.

These precautionary pictures may well reassure you but unless you are having surgery within the National Health Service, when they become part of your clinical record, you have no right to access of the surgeon’s pictures if they are taken within his clinic.

If you’re considering surgery please contact Mike Samuels at Medical Photographic Services to discuss the reasons for having high quality images taken and how it can help if things go wrong.

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PIP Breast Implants – documenting your case

A safe breast implant

You’re naturally worried; you’ve had cosmetic breast surgery and believe you may have had the faulty French PIP implants inserted.

The option for removal of these faulty implants would not seem to be a problem but it is unlikely to include replacement if carried out by a third party such as the National Health Service. If this is the situation you find yourself in you may wish to consider legal action at a later date but without proof of how you looked before removal it will be difficult to establish a claim.

The government’s position together with a number of private clinics appears to be that it is unlikely that you will be able to get the implants replaced without paying, but you can have the faulty ones removed.

Removal will probably leave you with a poor cosmetic result and inevitably new scarring from the surgery and subsequent drainage from the resulting cavities in your breasts, since there is no definitive decision regarding legal claims if you don’t make sure you have visual evidence of how these changes have affected you, it may be difficult to prove at a later date.

To be sure you have this important evidence, Mike Samuels of Medical Photographic Services has an established procedure for photographing breasts before and after surgery and can offer a totally confidential service direct to the patient or through their medical or legal advisor.

Contact us today by email info@medicalphotographer.co.uk for further information about our service in your area.

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Faulty Breast Implants

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