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New initiative raising awareness of hidden disabilities launched in Cardiff
Amber Davies, a student at Cardiff University, welcomed a new initiative by Cardiff Council which will see new signage put up outside accessible toilets around the city under the banner #BeTheChange.
Amber detailed how she has faced a “number of scenarios” where she has been challenged for using accessible toilets to change or empty her stoma bag, which left her feeling uncomfortable. On one occasion she was accused of taking drugs in a disabled toilet on a night out.
The 23-year-old said that sometimes she will need to change her bag up to fifteen times in one day. She described her illness as “chronic, debilitating” and “lifelong”.
The new signs are designed to help support people living with hidden illnesses such as brain injury or a stoma, with the council adding that 92% of people who need to use an accessible toilet don't have a visible illness.
"We're all guilty of jumping to conclusions. It won't only prompt people to think before they speak but educate people as well there are hundreds of invisible disabilities", Amber said.
Another woman interviewed, Rachel Allen, said the introduction of the signs is "absolutely huge". Both Rachel and her son Jake live with a stoma.
"I've had tutting behind me, looks - people judging me. As I stand here today you wouldn't think I had anything under my clothes, but I do. Those 92% are not represented with that wheelchair logo on those toilets - and that's why this sign is so important."
What is a stoma?
A stoma is where an opening is made in your abdominal region to allow waste to pass out of your body. It is pinkish in colour, similar to the inside of your mouth, and although it may look very raw and sore, it has no sensation.
According to the British Medical Journal, over 102,000 people in the UK have a stoma and will wear a stoma bag either temporarily or for the rest of their life.
Stomas are usually created when there is a problem with the patient's digestive or urinary system. As such, there are stomas of different sizes, shapes and purposes. We’ve listed the most common ones below:
- Colostomy - formed when directing waste from the colon
- Ileostomy - formed when directing waste from the ileum
- Urostomy - formed when directing waste from the kidneys or bladder
How can medical negligence lead to a stoma?
You may have been a victim of medical negligence if you now have a stoma because your medical professional:
- Delayed the diagnosis of a medical condition, such as cancer
- Delayed the treatment of an illness such as infection or sepsis
- Made mistakes during a surgical procedure, or delayed diagnosing a surgical complication, such as perforation of the bowel or damage to the urinary system
How can Potter Rees Dolan help?
With a combined experience of more than 80 years and impressive medical knowledge, our clinical negligence team is well placed to help you recover the compensation you need.