Life-changing compensation for firefighter after his hand was amputated

Client Ian McDonald who had his hand amputated sitting on log at a park in Glasgow

Ian McDonald, aged 37, was a firefighter for 10 years when he was injured during a routine training exercise at Bishopbriggs fire station, leading to his hand being amputated.

With Digby Brown’s expert legal help, he was able to secure a state of the art prosthetic and £1.5 million in compensation - enabling him to return to everyday tasks such as eating with a knife and fork and tying his shoe laces.

The compensation will also fund the ongoing costs for prosthetics for the rest of his life.

How the injury happened

“I was a firefighter for 10 years and I was injured while at work. The day of my accident, we were simulating rescuing casualties from a road traffic collision, a car crash. But it was about two hours after we'd finished the drill I'd noticed that my hand was actually swelling up.

"And it was upon investigation that we noticed a small red dot. It was one of my colleagues who suggested it could have been from a leak of hydraulic oil.

"We were well aware of the severity of that injury if that turned out to be what it was.

“The damage itself from the oil, it's very, very high pressure. So, there's the damage done from the actual penetrating injury but then the oil itself is extremely toxic also and your body can't break down the oil in any way, can't expel it from your body.

"As it's in there it continues to destroy tissue and the further it travels through the injury site, the more damage it's doing in the long term.

"So, time's very much of the essence to get it removed.”

It had a huge impact

“Everything basically changed. There was not one aspect of life that wasn't affected by this injury.

"Sometimes it would feel almost as if it was a real hindrance, a burden to Claire, my wife, and she had to take on all this extra responsibility.

"Where I was quite hands on with the kids and around the home, that all stopped. I really didn't know what to do with myself. It was a completely alien lifestyle to me, to not be able to do these things that needed done.”

How the state of the art prosthetic works

“It's powered with just some slim line mobile phone batteries and within the line in here there are two small electrode sensors, which pick up a signal from the muscles in my forearm.

"So, if I imagine that I am flexing my wrist in one direction or the other, it sends that signal via the muscle to each one of those electrodes so that allows me to open or close the arm in that way.”

How did Digby Brown help?

“Digby Brown were involved right from the start and they showed me everything that would be done to take all of the pressure off me. And true to their word that’s the way it went.

"They organised medical reports and access to specialists for myself and I was quite comfortable in the knowledge that there was a good, solid case being built in the background without any need for me to be worrying about it."

Where I am now

“The biggest thing is just having that access to the prosthetics now. Any monetary value, anything like that aside, it has given me back so much more in my family life and in the home and just restored normality. That injury has happened but it's gets to a place where I was before it happened almost.

“With everything that's been on hold, it felt like a very ... we were stagnating for several years there because we couldn't make any plans.”

How the compensation helped

“So, I now feel as if we're starting a new chapter. We can move forward so we can plan for the future. We've been able to provide a bigger house for the children to grow up in and these things and just have a much more comfortable lifestyle.

“And that has been purely down to Digby Brown's intervention and getting a very substantial settlement through my injury.”

Ian McDonald tells his story