Private Jamie Cooper, an 18-year-old private in the Royal Green Jackets, was hit twice by mortar fire in Basra two years ago. He lost the use of one leg and one hand, and has internal injuries.
He has received £57,587 in compensation.
Meanwhile a civil servant at the Ministry of Defence strained his back lifting a printer, and has been awarded £202,000 compensation. Another received £217,000 for suffering from chronic fatigue and depression (ah, bless!).
Jamie Cooper was on his first tour of duty in Iraq when he was hit by two mortar bombs. He had only been there for four weeks. He was testing radio equipment when his camp in Basra came under fire. He said "The first bomb took out my hands and right arm. I tried to crawl for cover but the second one took out my left bum cheek and the nerves in my leg. Shrapnel went through my pelvis into my stomach."
He was airlifted to an Army field hospital where his heart stopped twice as surgeons fought for 12 hours to save his life. He needed more life-saving operations in England - and twice contracted MRSA. He is still being treated for his injuries, but is putting on a brave face. Before his most recent operation he said: "My recovery is going well at the moment. I am getting about much better, although I still look like a penguin when I walk. I am getting there. I just want to get walking normally really, and I will be happy once I have had this operation.
But he suffered a blow when he was awarded a compensation payout for his injuries of just £57,000 - little more than his parents have spent already coping with his condition. His father, himself an ex-serviceman, said "My son loved the Army and laid his life on the line for his country. When Jamie opened the letter he was so dismayed. Talk about kicking a guy when he's down."
Jamie needs the financial compensation to provide the special care and equipment to see him through the rest of his life. He will always be chronically disabled, and the chances of him ever being able to hold down a job can't be good.
A civil servant who is a bit tired and fed-up, on the other hand, will probably feel better soon and be able to get another job or even return to the same one - it's not as if the work-load is all that heavy, after all. As for the other civil servant who put his back out lifting a printer … well, to be honest printers aren't that big. Thousands of British workmen lift far more, day in day out without complaining. Nor do strained backs last for ever.
The GOS says: I had a bad back myself last autumn. Where do I go, please, to apply for the two hundred grand?
And I could probably manage to feel a bit depressed as well, if it would help.
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