`My injuries finished my chances of work'
Jeremy Laurance is a writer on health issues. He is former health editor of The Independent and the i and has covered the specialism for more than 20 years. He thinks the harm medicine does is under-appreciated, the harm it prevents over-rated, and that cycling works better than most drugs. He was named Specialist Journalist of the Year in the 2011 British Press Awards.
Thursday 12 February 1998
Mrs Packer, 55, was a senior supplies assistant with the North East Thames Regional Health Authority who was medically retired two years ago with disabling shoulder, arm and hand injuries.
She had worked for the authority without problems for 10 years until her office was relocated. She found herself the only employee with computer skills and worked in cramped conditions for up to eight hours a day at the keyboard.
She began suffering pain in her hands and arms and started taking painkillers. She lost the power of grip in her hands which made it difficult for her to hold a car steering wheel.
She said: "My injuries finished me on the job market. I cannot hold a pen to write and I certainly cannot operate any kind of keyboard. I find it difficult to dress or do up zips. My husband has to prepare the vegetables for meals."
In a similar case in 1994, Kathleen Harris, 47, won pounds 79,000 after being forced to give up her job with the Inland Revenue. Ms Harris, of west London, developed pains in her right arm in 1990 while working on an electric typewriter for seven hours a day.
She was forced to retire in July 1993 and is now registered as disabled, unable to do household chores such as ironing.
At the announcement of the out of court settlement in January 1994, Ms Harris told a press conference: "I hope this will help other people in my position."
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