The inevitable happened.

Discussion in 'I care for a person with dementia' started by Spinner, May 12, 2015.

  1. Spinner

    Spinner Registered User

    Nov 15, 2012
    9
    It’s been some time since I’ve posted. At that time, my concern was the lack of communication from health professionals, particularly when we raised our concerns about mum driving.

    Last week, the inevitable happened. Mum was involved in a serious motor vehicle accident. She was the at fault driver. Fortunately, no one else was involved. Her car is a total loss and extensive public property damage has been caused (she crashed head on into a light pole). Mum sustained chest injuries and extensive bruising. She remains in hospital and will do so for some time.

    In addition to AD, mum has osteo-arthritis, trigeminal neuralgia and polymyalgia rheumatica. Most, if not all, are reportable conditions for licensing and insurance purposes. She takes a lot of prescription and non-prescription medication which includes oxycodone x 5 times a day, Mersyndol (a strong codeine and antihistamine combo) x 8 times a day (at least) and temazepam. She is also anti-depressants, heart and blood pressure medication, anti-convulsive and anti-epileptic medication and Galantyl.

    Despite this, and our efforts to stop mum from driving over the past three years, her GP continues to provide her with the yearly medical clearance she requires to continue driving. Mum takes great pleasure in telling us when Dr N has renewed her medical certificate, or (as she refers to it) having her “licence renewed” - kind of rubbing our noses in it. By the way, the medical clearance is unconditional.

    Here in Queensland, the driver or driver’s health professional are responsible for reporting medical conditions. Clearly mum was never going to do that. The GP? Well, it seems he has a reputation of giving the oldies exactly what they want. I’ve locked horns with him on a number of occasions but he arrogantly continues as he pleases.

    Family members can provide evidence in writing to the relevant authority, with supporting evidence from a health professional. Mum’s psychiatrist and a geriatrician recommended she undergo a driving assessment. As a result, mum refused to see them again. As long as she has her ever compliant GP, he’ll give her what she wants. She knows the MMSE by heart (that’s if the GP actually administers it) but can’t remember a conversation that occurred 10 minutes beforehand. Her mobility is limited. In most instances, she requires the aid of a walker. This also leads us to believe that the GP doesn’t have her undertake the required physical health assessment either. Just ticks the boxes and sends her on her way.

    In the aftermath of the accident, mum has remained in good spirits. She’s already talking about enlisting my brother to help her in buying a new car, saying the old one was too big for her anyway.

    I’ve been dealing with her insurer, and the police will want to interview her in due course. It may be that she will be charged with careless driving and fined. It will be likely that her licence is cancelled … that’s if it isn’t invalid in the first place. A couple of days after the accident, my brother was able to sight the licence she has been carrying in her purse and it expired in October 2013! When he queried how she renewed her licence she said she couldn’t remember. If it is the case that her licence is not current, she can kiss goodbye to any insurance payout, unlicensed driving will be added to the careless driving charge and she will be liable for paying for the public property damage.

    Am I angry? Too right I am.
     
  2. Izzy

    Izzy Volunteer Moderator

    Aug 31, 2003
    59,909
    Female
    Dundee
    Oh goodness Spinner. No wonder you're angry. I would be too. How irresponsible of that GP. I hope the police are somehow able to get back to him and discuss the implications of him allowing people like your mum to drive. Thank goodness nobody else was injured or killed. What a difficult situation for you.
     
  3. Linbrusco

    Linbrusco Registered User

    Mar 4, 2013
    1,585
    Female
    Auckland...... New Zealand
    Oh no how awful. I am sorry your Mum was hurt, but so thankful she didn't hurt anyone else.
    Here in NZ, your GP has a duty to inform our Transport Authority of any medical/physical disability preventing you from driving safely and especially if your licence is to be revoked.
    The Transport Authority Medical officer then decides what medical tests and/or driving assesments are required and how long your licence is cancelled or if invoked permanently.

    But any Health Professional can inform the Transport Authority, and certainly family members.

    My husband had seizures as a result of a brain tumour. He was advised not to drive for 12 mths at a time. At the end of each 12 mths he had to be assesed by his GP, his Neurologist and then get clearance from Transport Authority Medical Officer.

    If the result of this is that your Mums Insurance will not cover any damage, I would seek further recourse through the GP and or Medical Counsel.
     
  4. canary

    canary Registered User

    Feb 25, 2014
    10,779
    Female
    South coast
    Um, just a small comment and I may be wrong, but if her license expired in October 2013, then perhaps her GP hasnt been OKing her for driving.
     
  5. Linbrusco

    Linbrusco Registered User

    Mar 4, 2013
    1,585
    Female
    Auckland...... New Zealand
    Maybe he's given her a medical clearance certificate but she hasn't actually gone and renewed her licence when it expired 2013. :eek:
     
  6. optocarol

    optocarol Registered User

    Nov 23, 2011
    315
    Auckland, New Zealand
    Linbrusco beat me to it, was about to say isn't there a medical society/couuncil/association you can complain to?
     
  7. Spinner

    Spinner Registered User

    Nov 15, 2012
    9
    The medical certificate is current. Renewed on 14 October 2014, effective to 14 October 2015. Though I hope it's not the case, I really believe mum thinks that a medical certificate constituted her licence renewal.

    As for the GP, we'll do everything we can to bring him to account.
     
  8. cragmaid

    cragmaid Registered User

    Oct 18, 2010
    7,942
    North East England
    My Mum was adamant, right up to the week before she dies, that she still had a current licence and could have driven if she'd wanted to...... her licence had not been renewed since 2009 and she'd been registered blind for 6 or 7 years:eek::D

    I would check that it wasn't a case of he said she said..... but having a current granted certificate seems that your Mum took it as fact. Either way, I hope that the licence is withdrawn now as she is not safe.
     
  9. Saffie

    Saffie Registered User

    Mar 26, 2011
    22,498
    Female
    Near Southampton
    If your mother had died in the accident or if another person had been killed - and it could so easily have happened, I wonder where the GP would stand then.
     
  10. Spinner

    Spinner Registered User

    Nov 15, 2012
    9
    It's been a while but thanks to everyone for your replies. Seems we're all in agreement.

    Mum was discharged just over a week ago. In her own words, she's 'plodding on'.

    The insurance company paid out on the car. The car was immaculate with low mileage but market value was only $2,200.00. It was 15 years old. She's not mentioned anymore about buying a new one. Thank goodness! We're still not sure about her licence status. Can only assume that she is licensed. Then again, the pay out was so small that the claim was approved without a licence check.

    Now for the aftermath. I'll leave that for a new thread.
     
  11. Spinner

    Spinner Registered User

    Nov 15, 2012
    9
    Just to clarify, my comment about the licence check is only an assumption.

    Also, so far no compensation claim has been received for the light pole.
     

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