Perth man sues after 'one-in-a-million' reaction to vaccine

Monique Dirksz

A Perth father-of-five who was left disabled after a freak reaction to the whooping cough vaccination is suing the Western Australian Government.

Ben Hammond had the injection at King Edward Memorial Hospital in 2012, in a bid to keep his premature baby boy safe.

But in a one in a million case, Mr Hammond was left paralysed from the waist down 12 days after the injection designed to protect his premature baby James.

Ben Hammond with his infant son James in 2012. Source: 7 News

“(The reaction) was a massive shock to the system, like a car accident… you never recover from massive trauma,” Mr Hammond said.

Doctors say Mr Hammond contracted an auto immune disease which left him with spinal cord damage.

Four years on, he’s learnt to walk again but is permanently disabled, unable to work and needing round-the-clock care.

“He will never be the man he used to be,” Mr Hammond’s wife Tanya said.

The Hammond family are suing for compensation. Source: 7 News

The family say they’ve been left with no choice but to sue the WA Health Minister for negligence.

The Hammonds struggle to pay bills after Ben was left unable to continue in his $280,000 a year job as a mine supervisor.

“They can’t fix what happens to Ben, but we can try and make sure this doesn’t happen to any other families,” Mrs Hammond said.

“No one deserves to live like this.”

Ben Hammond with son James after having the whooping cough vaccine in 2012. Source: 7 News

A GoFundMe page has already raised $10,000 to help the family pay the bills during the legal saga.

"If Ben is successful in his litigation, finally there will be accountability in Australia for the real harm that vaccines can cause - hospitals and government departments will know that they can be held responsible for harming people with their coercive policies around vaccination and they will no longer be able to walk away scot-free!," the fundraising page states.

The State Government has already refused several applications for an ex gratia payment.

The matter will now go before a Perth court, with a pre-trial conference set down for July.