19 Feb 2020
Expert Spotlight: Vanessa Jane Davies, Skin Camouflage Expert
At Speed Medical, we understand the devastating effects that being involved in an accident can have on a person’s physical and mental health. That’s why we’re proud to have Vanessa Jane Davies, an expert in paramedical skin camouflage, working on our panel. Backed by over 25 years’ practical experience, Vanessa has been providing quality medico-legal expert witness assessments and reports for the past 13 years.
Today, we’re getting to know Vanessa a little better, delving deeper into her clinical practice, the challenges she faces and how she overcomes them.
How long have you been a part of Speed Medical’s Expert Panel?
I have been working with Speed Medical for over five years and enjoy being associated with such a specialist medico-legal reporting and rehabilitation service provider.
As one of Britain’s leading Skin Camouflage Consultants and Expert Witnesses, can you tell us a little more about your work?
I’ve been a first-tier member of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) and on the UK Register of Vetted Expert Witnesses since 2007. In my clinical practice, I ensure that the needs of those affected by scarring and pigmentation are effectively supported and benefit from my expertise.
Since 2015, I have worked with silicone therapy products alongside my skin camouflage treatments which enables me to offer an opinion when scar treatment is cited in the consultant surgeon’s medical report. For example, one young person following a shocking dog attack who is now approaching her teenage years has found the scar management options/costs that were identified in the report along with the skin camouflage provision a tremendous support and comfort.
How have you noticed the industry change over the years?
Looking at my 13-year log of expert report writing, a pattern is clearly emerging of increasing instructions to act for the defendants, as well as requests to act as a SJE with more and more cases transferring to rehabilitation for long-term needs that would otherwise be medico-legal.
Given that I have looked after patients over long periods of time, the rehabilitation pathway is proving to work well, particularly with my military work. I believe this is an emerging trend in my area of work which Speed Medical acknowledges by securing the correct pathway of instruction.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
One of things I enjoy most about my clinical practice is the variety of my work, both in terms of the individuals who seek my advice and the range of visible skin differences and scarring that can be helped by skin camouflage and scar therapy. It’s so satisfying to be able to make a positive difference and give clients the tools and techniques that provide them with choice about their appearance; whether they are in the process of recovery, rehabilitation after an injury or living with a long-term condition.
Why might a person require skin camouflage services?
Interestingly, people often assume that it is mostly women who will seek my help, but in reality, I see just as many, if not more, men. I also work with children as young as primary school age but especially those approaching their teenage years when self-confidence is so important, particularly if they have a visible skin difference.
I will often see people who are facing the world having suffered a period of self-harm. To provide these clients with the skills and techniques to help them put the visible signs of this part of their life behind them is especially satisfying.
As the only Skin Camouflage Expert who is also a qualified ScarWork Therapist, can you tell us a little more about what Scar Management is?
‘Scar Management Services’ is the umbrella term for my integrated approach to scar therapies and techniques, which can benefit anyone living with scarring. This is available to all my patients, including military, rehabilitation, expert witness referrals, international and clinician or self-referring patients.
My work with topical dermal fillers helps indented scars while scar therapy minimises scarring as they are maturing. This, combined with skin camouflage, enables me to provide treatment plans in my quantum reports.
ScarWorkTM is a gentle but very effective approach to scar management. This technique can be used on scars - large or small, anywhere on the face and body - and is equally suitable for children. ScarWorkTM massage is excellent for uneven, tight, puckered or tethered scars. It also helps soften and flatten raised areas of scarring which not only reduces pain and discomfort but improves mobility. Where used in conjunction with skin camouflage, it can also improve the overall effect of the prescribed skin camouflage regime.
What do you think about Continued Professional Development?
Ongoing CPD coupled with over 25 years of practical experience enables me to judge the most effective skin camouflage products and techniques to act as a competent expert witness. I believe it’s vitally important to take responsibility for my own continued professional learning to ensure all practices are valid and up to date, which is why I attend regular training at Bond Solon, The Expert Witness Institute and the British Dermatological Nursing Group. It’s good practice to question yourself on your knowledge and expertise and reflect on how many times you have treated a patient in order to say you are competent before accepting a case.
What do you enjoy most about being on the panel?
The scope and variety of cases referred is interesting and means I can utilise all elements of my professional expertise - both in skin camouflage and scar management for complex scars, multiple trauma injuries and other visible skin differences.
It’s always good to meet up with the Speed Medical team at exhibitions and conferences and put a face to a name.
What has your experience been like working with Speed Medical?
In everything I do, I want to demonstrate excellent clinical standards, which is why I don’t accept desk-based assessments. I believe that only after seeing the client in person and assessing their needs and aspirations for skin camouflage and scar therapies, can you then provide an informed and accurate assessment of their needs going forward. Speed Medical is more than happy to accommodate this which I really appreciate.
I think the way Speed Medical provides briefs is really effective and find the Expert Portal to be a secure and efficient means of communication with any queries responded to promptly – often later in the working day if need be, which is always helpful following a day’s consultation.