Saturday, 7 June 2014

7th June 2014

It’s been quite a while since my last update of Steven’s progress. The reasons for this are many, concerning us, his family, as well as Steven. Steven has made a remarkable recovery over the 3½ years, but he has reached a “plateau”. We and he still haven’t stopped fighting for his recovery and justice, but at the moment there has been very little change in the last few months. He continues to be mobile, he continues his treatments of massage and exercise, but he still suffers from all manner of pains to his left side, particularly his elbow, hip and pelvis. His stress or patience levels are improving, his emotional outbursts are diminishing. Steven has stopped going to Elche hospital for physiotherapy because the regime was becoming repetitive, and having learnt so much there, he can do the same exercises at home. He has continued his massage, heat therapy, and acupuncture. He has recently started at a local gym specialising in recuperative therapy following accident or illness. This is already showing slight improvement in muscle tone and general fitness. After a long delay in getting appointments, he again saw a Doctor about his elbow. After x-rays and consultation, it was decided that an operation was not necessary. According to the Doctor, Steven has to endure more pain by vigorously exercising the elbow to remove “floating” calcification. In time this should relieve his elbow pain, and restore feeling to the fingers of his left hand. Regarding his hip and pelvis, we have decided to obtain advice and help from England. We were able to send excellent scans of his pelvis and hip to an English hospital, where experts agree that the pelvis is now fully healed, but in the wrong manner. These Doctors are also loathe to re-break the pelvis to restore it to its original state. The Doctors believe that Steven is not getting pain from the actual pelvis, but from the muscles surrounding the hip and pelvis. But these Doctors also discovered that when Steven had a hip replacement, it seems that the hip joint was replaced without taking into consideration the displaced pelvis. Their opinion is to re-do the hip replacement, and twist his leg into the correct position with the damaged pelvis. This will then hopefully put all the bones and muscles into alignment. We visit England in September for personal consultation rather than the up to now informative e-mail exchanges. As well as Steven’s health and his constant visits for treatments, we have had a large number of other problems, none of which help our own stress levels. After much deliberation between our solicitor and the taxi insurance, we have reluctantly accepted an offer of compensation. However this compensation falls short of what we feel is fair. The compensation was ordered by the local Court according to Spanish Law. The alternative would have meant paying a solicitor about €15,000 up front, and a potential delay of up to 15years to get any further compensation, and even then, there was the possibility of still receiving the Court’s amount, from which we would then have to pay the insurance companies costs. This is David versus Goliath, and was an incredibly difficult decision to make, and one we didn’t reach lightly. Then there was a battle with the Spanish Social Security. After a vast number of Medical examinations, and reports from all sorts of Doctors, Steven was awarded a Spanish disability pension. Despite all the Doctors stating that Steven would never have the capacity to learn, and would never work again, the Social Security gave Steven a disability rating of 52% Total and Permanent Disability. Ten months before Steven’s accident, he was in full time contracted work, which meant he was able to legally obtain a Social Security pension. He bought his own house with our help. As normal when buying a house with a mortgage, he and we took out the usual mortgage protection insurance. So, armed with the Social Security report, we approached the Bank’s insurance company, with a view to claiming on the insurance for the mortgage to be paid. After several weeks the decision was given that Steven did not qualify for this payment, because it was only payable on Absolute and Permanent Disability. We returned to the Social Security to appeal their rating, and after yet more examinations they increased Steven’s rating to 55% Total and Permanent Disability, but would not give Absolute and Permanent Disability. We appealed to the mortgage insurance, but they were adamant that the rules said Absolute and Permanent Disability. This basically means that Steven would have to be virtually fully paralysed and totally helpless before any payment was made. To us, the insurance was worthless. Steven cannot work, that’s agreed by everyone, but he still has to pay his mortgage. Further, the insurance papers actually give the insurance company the right to come to their own decision despite any Doctors or Social Security reports. When the house was purchased, as is normal in Spain we paid all relevant taxes. However, whilst Steven was in hospital we received notification that we had underpaid €6000 in taxes, and they wanted their money, as if we hadn’t got enough problems. We went to our solicitor as soon as we were able, and appealed the alleged unpaid tax. In the meantime the tax authorities fined us €400 for not paying the disputed amount on time, something they shouldn’t have done whilst an appeal was in process. Unbelievably they then embargoed our bank accounts and removed the €6000, again in contravention of the appeal papers produced at Court. After another year, we won our appeal, successfully proving all taxes had been paid, and that the embargoed monies to be returned. Despite numerous letters and telephone calls this took a further 18months before our monies were finally returned. All the above battles with officialdom required many travels to offices, telephone calls, e-mails, letters, and all were and still are very debilitating. All these problems had to be dealt with at the same time as maintaining 2 houses, including normal life’s duties from shopping to cleaning. Steven is spending more time in his own house, but still needs help around his house from cleaning to making his bed. So, as you can see, we have been extremely busy in all manner of things, causing a lot of depression and anger, at a time when all we wanted was for Steven to get fitter and better.

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