How we have helped
Being a keen cyclist as well as a dentist, I would commute the 21 miles each way to my practice by bicycle 3 times a week clocking up over 200 miles a week with leisure riding too.
On Friday 13th July, my life changed forever as I was hit by a truck on my morning cycle…. I was airlifted to hospital and spent the first 4 days in high dependency and a total of 2 weeks in major trauma, going through 4 operations in the first week alone, and a total of 9 months off work followed. I had suffered a traumatic brain injury and severe injuries to both my hands with complete numbness in my dominant hand. I seriously did not think I would ever to be able to work as dentist ever again. The PTSD I suffered was of course very severe.
I had vaguely heard of the BDA Benevolent Fund when I was a member of the BDA, but my membership had lapsed once I moved away from the NHS. I had taken out medical insurance with Dentist Provident but was persuaded to change to a HSBC policy and not reading the small print carefully enough found out after I had the accident that I wasn’t covered for accidental damage caused due to cycling. There was no pay-out. My savings quickly got used up. Some amazing friends organized a sponsored walk in my honour, but this money went very quickly as well as there was no household income, and two of my five children were dependent on me. My parents had passed away and my wife’s parents were not able to assist.
Thankfully a colleague mentioned the BDA Benevolent Fund, and the fact that I didn’t have to be a member of the BDA helped me overcome my recalcitrance against asking for assistance. The empathy with which I was treated was exemplary. The process was extremely easy and the staff very honest about how they could help, and I felt cared for and supported throughout.
I was receiving extensive physiotherapy and gradually the feeling came back into my dominant left-hand, which has enabled me to go back to work part-time.
Trauma does make you rethink things and what is important in life, and I think the addition of the BDA Benevolent Fund’s Wellness arm is a valuable asset to help deal with the mental health issues that do occur within the dentist profession, which can be very lonely.
I am incredibly grateful for the assistance I was given by the charity; it absolutely helped me get through this very difficult time. I haven’t been back on a bicycle, and trail run for fitness now.
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