Client focus: Dale Clark

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Longstanding Court of Protection client Dale Clark stole the show at the Ashtons Legal 2015 Case Management Conference by sharing his inspiring story and achievements. 

Dale is a former member of the RAF who was tragically injured in a car accident which left him wheelchair bound and with a severe brain injury. Despite his trials and tribulations, Dale delivered a speech with grace and good humour, discussing failures, fears and frustrations that are familiar to all of our clients. Dale went on to explain how his case management and therapeutic input has impacted his life in a truly positive manner. Dale’s speech embodied why we all do the work we do and the raucous applause that followed could not have been more deserved.

Here is his story in his own words.

“My name is Dale Clark, I have been around for 55 years, which nearly ended 10 years ago when I used my legs as a crumple zone, I am very lucky to be alive!

I have three sisters and one brother who all live near Reading, and so do my Mum and Dad. I also have two sons, Daniel and Alex, and a granddaughter, Amelia.

I joined the RAF in 1980 and served 25 years as a linguist, spending a lot of time out in Berlin.

After leaving the RAF I went to work as a taxi driver, this is when I had my accident in 2005, which left me in a wheel chair and with a brain injury.

I was in a coma for a short while, and spent time in Grantham Hospital, Queen’s Medical Centre in Nottingham before going to the Royal Hospital for Neuro-Disability in Putney, then to Lincoln County Hospital near my home. I don’t remember much of this time. When I was finally discharged from hospital after two years I was told I would never walk and no more physio was required.

I came home in 2007 and was cared for by my now ex-wife Angie, and Kelly who is now the care team leader. The house had been adapted a little but was not ideal for me and my chair, I got frustrated a lot because I couldn’t do the things I wanted to do. I had limited access to town as I live in a small village.

One good thing that happened is that I started having physio, after Angie fought for me to get it, and Julia my physiotherapist is still treating me now.

After two years at home, I went to the Brain Injury Rehabilitation Trust (BIRT) unit in Ely for more rehabilitation because my brain could not control my mouth and I would get very aggressive – this was a big strain on my family.

The BIRT unit taught me to put my brain in gear before my mouth and control my temper, my time spent there was good but I was glad to go home.

I came home again in 2011, this time the house had been fully adapted and extended to suit my needs, and a full team of Personal Assistants and a Case Manager had been apointed to help me live my life at home.

My Case Manager, Vikki, is a great help to me. She sorts things out for me, usually money, as I like to spend, I have a degree in it!

Vikki spends time with me most weeks answering my questions, as I forget a lot, and sorting out any problems. I find it very easy to talk to her, and look forward to her visits.

I feel it’s important to have a Case Manager as they act as a go between with my solicitors, which I would not be able to do myself.

I wouldnt want to be a Case Manager as I don’t have the patience!

I have recently spent time in Oxford Orthopedics Centre having two operations to remove my right leg bones and put them back in, as I had a nasty infection. Vikki and my team were a great help to me then, as I needed intravenous antibiotics and it took a lot of work to get me home and sort out a nurse to come to my house every day.

As I said earlier my physiotherapist has been with me since before my rehabilitation in the BIRT unit. She visits me twice a week, and I am now up and walking with special boots and a frame, only in physio at the moment, but my goal is to use the frame all the time.

I even walk into my local coffee shop in my physio sessions, to give myself a challenge. I love it as I get free coffee and make the staff cry!

I have a lot to look forward to now in my future.”


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