Father left permanently disabled after a one-in-a-million bad reaction to a whooping cough vaccination is preparing to sue the WA Government over medical negligence.
Ben Hammond, his wife Tanya and their five children have been left emotionally and financially crippled since the 2012 injection, reports The West Australian.
Experts say the injection led to Mr Hammond contracting acute disseminated encephalomyelitis, an autoimmune disease causing irreversible spinal cord damage.
The rare reaction left Mr Hammond without any feeling from the waist down, with difficulty walking and memory loss — a reaction traced by an immunology expert to the vaccine given weeks earlier at King Edward Memorial Hospital so he could visit his prematurely born son.
After failing in several appeals for an ex gratia payment from the Government, the Hammonds are pursuing a negligence claim against the WA health minister — litigation they believe could be a watershed for vaccine injury law in Australia.
“Before this we lived a normal, peaceful life — now it is non-stop roller-coaster,” Mr Hammond said.
“This is not about millions of dollars or a mansion. This is about allowing us to live a normal life with our children.”
Any negligence payout would help pay for Mr Hammond’s long-term medical treatment, which includes hundreds of dollars a month in supplies, as well as compensating the family for the loss of his $280,000-a-year salary.
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