Thursday, February 11, 2010

A Cushing’s Patient: Fine is waived, but why issue a ticket at all?

Annie Buckley: ‘There should be compensation for the time wasted and anxiety the

Cushing’s Syndrome sufferer calls for ‘discretion and common sense’ for disabled motorists

February 11, 2010

ANNIE Buckley gets a lot of parking tickets, despite her “Blue Badge” free parking pass.

But should disabled drivers whose mental health can sometimes be affected by their condition always be made to pay up?

Ms Buckley suffers from a rare hormonal condition known as Cushing’s Syndrome.

Patients suffer from bouts of exhaustion and are susceptible to psychological disturbances that can make it difficult, Ms Buckley says, for her to understand parking rules and signs.

Ms Buckley, who lives in Doynton Street, Highgate, is entitled to park on single yellow lines and in residents’ parking bays.

Two weeks ago she was fined for straddling a residents’ bay and a yellow line while parking in Quadrant Grove, Queen’s Crescent.

She contested the ticket, but Camden Councilhas said it was satisfied the £120 charge was correct and threatened her with a court hearing if she did not pay immediately.

Ms Buckley said: “I felt like they were attacking me. They should show some discretion and common sense.

“I have a Blue Badge. If I can park in both yellow lines and parking bays, why shouldn’t they let me park in both?

“I am fine driving with my condition. But it can mean that I do not process information properly all the time.

“If I’m reading a book, for example, I tend to miss out sentences, or not read some parts.

“There are so many signs on the street. When you get out and look at them, it’s like reading a book – and sometimes when I look at them I can’t easily line things up. It means I get a lot of tickets.

“They say you can’t [park] at this time and that time. I get exhausted very quickly and I can’t wait around for hours to find a space.”

She added: “All my time is being eaten up contesting parking tickets – I have had four tickets this month.

“I think there should be some sort of compensation for the time wasted and the anxiety these fines cause.”

Following a complaint from the New Journal, the council has admitted it was wrong and agreed to waive the fine.

Ms Buckley said she would get back to work on her course. She is studying theatre design at university and has recently returned from Athens where she saw the famous Theatre of Dionysus.

She used to work as a tour guide on open top buses driving round famous sites in central London, but had to stop work after becoming unusually tired.

For around 10 years doctors had no idea what was wrong with her – until she was diagnosed 15 years ago.

She said: “I thought I was being a hypochondriac for a long time. But Cushing’s is quite rare.

“I can have quite horrible moments, but I don’t want to complain.”


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