Income protection: Declan's moment of truth.
'I swapped my income protection to be surgeon specific when I started surgical registrar training and realised how important me hands were to my career if I were unable to operate.'
A few years later, Declan had just completed a period away from operating, to research the impact of exercise on people undergoing major liver surgery. After a final operation on his first day back at work, Declan was cycling home when the unthinkable happened and he was hit head-on by a van. He was thrown onto the windscreen and then rolled over the bonnet. When he was late returning home, his worried wife tracked him using the GPS on his phone and was traumatised to find him with life-threatening injuries just a quarter of a mile from home.
Prior to the accident Declan was extremely fit and active. He commuted to work by bicycle every day and regularly competed in triathlons. His dad was a former world champion triathlete.
Declan sustained injuries to his brain, spine, both hips and his right shoulder, requiring emergency surgery. However, he was so keen to get back to work that only six weeks after the accident Declan was given permission to use a static bike for 20 minutes a day. Once out of his brace for his multiple spinal injuries, he was able to start swimming again.
After the accident, Declan received six months' sick pay from the NHS, and had to manage his outgoings closely. He continues to have problems with his speech and memory and at one point, was told that he would not be able to return to work for some time, meaning income was dropping further. This news was devastating for him so he called his income protection provider.
With his policy, the family was able to make ends meet and they didn't have to borrow money from family and friends. 'I had people to go to, but not everyone does. And because of my foresight to purchase income protection, thankfully I didn't have to. Most importantly my wife and I were able to continue trying for more children, and we have recently been blessed with our second child.
Phased return to work
Declan started a graded return to work under Occupational Health guidance six months following the accident. Six months later, one year after the accident, he returned to work full time. He continues to attend intensive physiotherapy as part of his rehabilitation.
His income protection provider continues to support Declan financially through their Rehabilitation benefit, until Declan can return to his former level of duties.