Non-freezing cold injury (NFCI) results from cold exposure, above freezing point, of sufficient severity and duration to cause sensory and vascular abnormalities, which can persist for years and even permanently, often resulting in medical discharge from the Armed Forces and restrictions on alternative career prospects.
Whilst the condition was previously known as ‘trench foot’, symptoms are commonly suffered in the feet and/or hands, typically after a soldier has been cold and wet for a sustained period of time. On rewarming, there is altered sensation and often discolouration with periods of paleness followed by redness, along with swelling and pain.
Non-freezing cold injuries (NFCI’s) often lead to long term/ permanent increased sensitivity to cold. Whilst all soldiers are at risk of NFCI, research suggests those of black Afro-Caribbean ethnicity are at 2.8 to 6 times more susceptible. Smokers are also more predisposed to NFCI, which is primarily a neurovascular condition.
It is important that soldiers noticing any of the above symptoms report them promptly to their medical officer/ centre. They should then be referred immediately for the requisite investigations. These are typically carried out at the Cold Injury Clinic at the Institute of Naval Medicine. Delays in investigation and diagnosis should be minimised because those diagnosed with NFCI should immediately be placed on restricted employment, sheltered from cold and damp conditions and are unlikely to be able to play many sports or to be fully deployable, in order to maximise the chances of recovery.
It is vital that those suffering with suspected NFCI’s seek early legal advice, as strict time limits (usually three years from the incident causing the injury) apply in bringing claims. This is particularly important in the many cases where soldiers face the possibility of early medical discharge.
Gary Boyd, Head of Gorvins’ Military Injury department, is an acknowledged expert in the highly specialised field of military non-Freezing cold injuries. Gary has a wealth of experience in dealing with military cases of this nature and will give you the specialist legal advice and support that you deserve.
To discuss your case with Gary you can call us on 0161 930 5117 or fill in our online enquiry form and let us call you back to see how we can help.
Gary Boyd is a national level military specialist. ...Legal 500
Very well led by Gary Boyd who has great expertise in military-related claims an ...Legal 500
Gary Boyd is an outstanding Solicitor whose tenacity always ensures outstanding ...David Knifton KC
When working with Gary Boyd, I have been impressed by his dedication to fighting ...Amanda Yip QC (now Lady Justice Yip, High Court Judge )
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