Transverse myelitis  Swine flu

Paramedic paralysed after having swine flu jab provided by ambulance service

Alison Smith Squire
Last updated at 10:44 PM on 24th January 2011

A paramedic was paralysed after having the swine flu jab.

Mother-of-two Sara Hornsey had the injection because the ambulance service recommended it for front-line staff.

But terrifyingly, two days later, the 30-year-old woke up with no feeling from her waist down.

Medics diagnosed transverse myelitis, a rare complication often associated with vaccines.

It meant nerves in her spinal cord were damaged.

A year later, Mrs Hornsey, of Little Hampton, in West Sussex, is able to walk only with a stick and relies on a wheelchair.

Her case highlights the jab’s risks and raises the possibility of countless more people suffering complications as it is part of the winter flu jab. ‘It was just so frightening,’ she said. ‘At first I just thought my legs were asleep but when I tried to get out of bed, I fell to the floor.

‘Until this happened I was a healthy and busy working mum.

‘I felt lucky as I had a job I adored and loved helping others.’

She had the jab in November 2009. Five months later, bosses at South East Coast Ambulance Service – where she worked for two years – sacked her instead of allowing her to take on an office role.

Days later, she saw the department was advertising for office staff and appealed.

She was offered a job and compensation.

‘By then my confidence was shattered and I felt too upset to return,’ added Mrs Hornsey.

‘Life has been very hard. Doctors don’t know if I will ever get completely better.’

An Ambulance Service spokesman said he was unable to comment due to an impending employment tribunal hearing.

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