Engineer Requires Specialist Support After Being Diagnosed With Guillain-Barré Syndrome
A man who may never walk again after being diagnosed with a rare condition following a luxury holiday in the Dominican Republic has called on specialist serious injury lawyers investigate his ‘devastating’ ordeal.
William Marsh, 57, from Glamorgan, Wales, suffered with symptoms including stomach cramps and diarrhoea towards the end of a week-long all-inclusive at the Riu Naiboa resort which was booked to celebrate his 25th wedding anniversary.
While the symptoms persisted on his return to the UK, William was planning on returning to work as an engineer, as he could not afford time off. However, the morning he was due back to work he woke up and had no feeling in his legs – and the sensation then progressed across his entire body.
William was subsequently diagnosed with Guillain-Barré syndrome, a serious neurological condition which is a known complication from food poisoning. His condition proved so severe that he was in a coma for ten weeks and he spent seven months in hospital undergoing rehabilitation.
Almost two years on from his diagnosis, the father-of-three, still cannot walk, and is essentially confined to his living room due to the extent of his needs. He has been unable to return to work.
William, of Mountain Ash, has instructed specialist international serious injury lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate his experiences and help him access the specialist rehabilitation he requires.
Expert Opinion“This is a truly devastating case which clearly highlights the impact that gastric illness can have in some instances. Guillain-Barré syndrome can emerge following a bacterial infection and can cause anything from numbness to muscle weakness. In very severe cases like William’s, it can even cause long-term, or permanent, paralysis.
“William has faced the most challenging period of his life and continues to hold many questions regarding what he has been through. We are determined to help him establish what happened and also secure him access to the specialist support he needs to ensure he gets the best from life.
“His life has been completely turned upside down by his condition and we are committed to doing everything we can to help him look to a brighter future.” Jatinder Paul - Senior Associate Solicitor
Find out more about our expertise in supporting people affected by illness either at home or abroad at our personal injury section
William’s holiday at the Riu Naiboa, which was booked through TUI UK Limited, began on 5 July 2018. He stayed at the resort with his wife Kathryn, 50, as well as their 17 year old daughter.
Looking back, he said: “Kathryn, and my daughter, fell ill first and then it hit me. The symptoms were awful but we just tried to push through it. I needed to get myself to work, so I thought nothing of it really. But then I got a huge shock when I woke up one morning and couldn’t feel my legs.”
William’s condition deteriorated quickly as a result of the Guillain-Barré syndrome and he ended up in a coma and on a ventilator in St Charles Hospital. After a long period of treatment he was able to return home, but his life has now changed massively.
He requires a hoist to be lifted into a wheelchair. He also has severe weakness down his left hand side which means he struggles to grip an empty can.
He said: “I need so much help to do even the simplest of tasks now and we have carers visiting the house every day. We have also had to make a range of changes, as we needed a wet room, new central heating and an adapted car. I have to spend most of my time in the living room as I struggle to access other areas. It’s been devastating.
“The process of recovery has been incredibly slow and it has been very frustrating at times. It is still hard to believe everything that has happened to me and it has been tough facing up to the fact that I may never walk properly again.
“Throughout my time battling with Guillain-Barré syndrome, it has become clear just how misunderstood the condition is and how many people do not know much about it at all.
“I hope that by taking this action I not only get the answers I feel I deserve, but also put a spotlight on how the condition can affect individuals and raise awareness of it in general.”
William has also received support from the charity Guillain-Barré and Associated Inflammatory Neuropathies (GAIN). It is the only national organisation in the UK and Republic of Ireland dedicated to helping people affected by Guillain-Barré syndrome, CIDP and the related conditions.
Shortly after William was diagnosed, GAIN provided an information pack and offered support to the family, including speaking to a recovered patient and through the GAIN personal grants fund. GAIN continue to provide them with support through its Facebook group.
Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) is a rare autoimmune condition affecting the peripheral nervous system. Often triggered by a viral or bacterial infection such as flu or food poisoning, it causes the nerves in the arms and legs to become inflamed and stop working, usually leading to temporary paralysis which may last from a few days to many months.
An estimated 1,300 people (one to two people per 100,000) are affected by GBS annually in the UK. About 80 per cent will make a good recovery, but between five and 10 per cent of people will not survive and 10-15 per cent may experience long term residual effects ranging from limited mobility or dexterity, to life-long dependency on a wheelchair.
May is GBS Awareness Month and this month sees the launch of #GAINmomentum, an initiative for the charity’s members and friends to promote awareness while challenging themselves to get moving, by setting a personal goal and seeing what can be achieved.
GAIN receives no government funding, relying on the generosity of the public to support its work.
Further information about the charity can be found at www.gaincharity.org.uk