Family Of Wounded Afghanistan War Veteran Sue The Ministry Of Defence
The family of a veteran of the war in Afghanistan who had his legs blown off by the Taliban is suing the British Army because he claims they cut his pay, failed to provide him with wheelchairs he was promised, and put necessary medical treatment in doubt.
Lance Bombardier Ben Parkinson was the most seriously wounded soldier during the Afghanistan War and was not expected to pull through after an anti-tank mine exploded his Land Rover and left him without his legs and brain damaged.
He has since amazed all of his doctors by relearning how to talk and walk despite their predictions.
His story had been used as a case for how well the Armed Forces look after their injured, but his family is now opening legal proceedings against the Ministry of Defence after accusing them of breaching their statutory duty in Ben's case.
Ben cannot speak to the media because he is a serving soldier but his mother, Diane Dernie told The Mail: "Under an agreement reached with us and the NHS in 2016, the MoD is supposed to provide Ben's wheelchairs, prosthetic limbs and specialist medical services not available to us locally on the NHS.
"We have learned - contrary to what the Army has told us - that charities have provided two of Ben's wheelchairs from funds donated by the public. This was a deception on their part.
"We cannot suffer in silence any longer. We need a long-term care plan in place for Ben now."
Ben was permitted to remain in uniform after his injuries as part of an agreement that was made in 2007 that allowed wounded soldiers to continue to be paid.
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However, the family claim that his wages have been cut back several times and he now earns hundreds less per month than he did. The MoD has not denied this claim.
Ben's mother also claims that two of his wheelchairs have been funded by charities, despite the Army allegedly saying it would put up the cash for it.
Mrs Dernie continued: "Issues like his pay being reduced, the Army's failure to sign up to an agreement for Ben's lifelong care needs and his wheelchairs being paid for by military charities, has been very distressing."
"Senior officers suggested to us that they'd provided the chair. How could the Army palm off the responsibility for providing it on to a charity? That's not right.
"Then in 2016 they admitted there was no budget for wheelchairs. Ben waited 15 months for a new one which, as I understand, also came from a charity."
The former Army chief who arranged for Ben to be allowed to stay in the forces, Lord Dannatt, said: "While mistakes have been made, a lot of people in the Army have worked very hard on Ben's behalf. I hope these issues can be settled without the need for a court case."
A spokesperson from the MoD said: "We can assure Lance Bombardier Parkinson and his family that we are working hard to establish his new care package as quickly as we can."
Featured Image Credit: PA