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Home   Maidstone   News   Article

Paddock Wood veteran Matt O'Rourke sues Ministry of Defence after being denied care for combat spine injuries suffered in Afghanistan

17 February 2014
by James Walker
A former soldier who suffered permanent damage to his spine in Afghanistan is suing the Ministry of Defence for clinical negligence.

Matt O'Rourke, from Paddock Wood, injured his back six weeks after he was deployed with 1st Battalion, The Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment in November 2011.

Despite complaining of severe back pain on his return home, he was refused an MRI scan and placed on an intense training regime in January 2012.

Former soldier Matt O'Rourke, from Paddock Wood

Former soldier Matt O'Rourke, from Paddock Wood

After three months of struggling, he was demobilised early and went on to have an MRI conducted by the NHS that found three prolapsed discs.

The 30-year-old, of Bishops Oak Ride, said: "This is not for financial gain. If I'm honest, it's to kick up a fuss.

"I feel they've put me to one side and it's not right, and I want to do everything I can to raise awareness."

"This is not for financial gain. If I'm honest, it's to kick up a fuss..." - ex-soldier Matt O'Rourke

Mr O'Rourke injured himself by jumping into a ditch when his patrol came under heavy fire in Helmand Province.

When he returned home, he was refused an MRI scan at Headley Court, a rehab centre for wounded troops, and told to have it done on the NHS.

Mr O'Rourke claimed this was because he joined from 3rd Batallaion, The Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment - a Territorial Army unit - and was only in the regular Army for 12 months.

After being demobilised, he had one disc removed and another two surgically repaired in September 2012.

A check-up in November last year revealed he had permanently lost 50% of his back's mobility.

The Ministry of Defence is being sued by Matt O'Rourke

The Ministry of Defence is being sued by Matt O'Rourke

He said the MoD had not yet received a relevant medical report and had told him he would not receive payment from the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme.

The MoD argued this was because there was no evidence his injury caused permanent or significant damage, but this would be reviewed in March next year.

Mr O'Rourke was also frustrated he was considered ineligible for guaranteed income support (GIP) - a lifelong payment made to ex-military personnel whose employability is hindered.

The Army grades injuries on a tariff basis, which ranks from one to 15. Categories one to 11 get GIP payments; Mr O'Rourke is on tariff 12.

The MoD is yet to comment.


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