J is for Justice

Sam Bowen's avatar

by Sam Bowen

Without going into detail, please believe me when I say that I know what it is like to seek justice. To eat, sleep and breathe it.

Many of us are put in this position and whether your child’s disability is the result of a clinical oversight or missed test or a blunder during their birth, there is a moment frozen in time when before it all is ok and after it, life isn’t.

We cannot turn back the clock, so the natural reaction is to seek justice from the person or people that tipped the balance. 

This is often linked to the anger stage of grieving, where retribution grips the hand of justice in trying to right a wrong. Whilst it is normal to have those thoughts and feelings, it is also worth realising that it can be part of the natural process of adjustment to what’s happened.

An approach that is less damaging to health (note I didn’t write healthier!) may be to accept things and move on, but for those of us locked headlong into a battle searching for answers and an apology, or even for compensation to help make life easier, that can feel like an impossible option.

It’s a difficult journey to navigate. The further you go down the track the harder it is to get off. You have to be fully committed to it from the start and prepared for more hurt.

It is tiring to drag up painful memories to tell over and again, then write about them in microscopic detail.

To have a long line of professionals to meet (added to those you are already working with in support of your child).

No stone is left unturned and you must be the one to hold that stone, again and again.

You will become close to the professionals that join you on your quest, even mistaking them for friends as you build a case together which could take years.

You will rely on them and them on you. It is a symbiotic relationship, you literally cannot do it without each other, which forms the strangest of bonds.

They may keep reassuring you that your quest is not only valid, but achievable, even motivate you by saying your case could help others further down the line. Then overnight they may change their mind out of the blue.

You might even go all the way to standing in court doing battle against the opposition with all the grace of a penguin fighting a shark.

You will be alone but surrounded by your team who seem to know that the rules of the game have now changed, even though you don’t.

You will feel at times that you are running in the opposite direction to them.

Of course there are those who win their quest, who get the help and financial support all people in their position should get. You may think they had a better case, better team, clearer argument and all of those might be so, but the biggest component is luck.

Luck in timing, geography and people. The same luck which rules over birth disability in the first place. 

There is no justice in luck, but there is an awful lot of luck in justice!

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