A young father-of-two was left paralysed after a routine steroid injection to cure pins and needles.
Graeme Foster was forced to give up his job as an electrician when he lost all feeling in his legs and arms after the jab was inserted into the right rear area of his neck.
The 47-year-old has had to learn how to walk again after the guided nerve root injection triggered a spinal stroke in 2014.
Graeme Foster (pictured with family) was left paralysed following a steroid injection given to cure pain
Mr Foster was forced to give up his job as an electrician and now works at a desk
Mr Foster of Brisbane now works at a desk after he was forced to give up his job as an electrician.
He immediately lost muscle function in his left leg and both arms and has incomplete quadriplegia after initially opting for the injection to remedy constant pins and needles in three of his fingers.
‘Will it get better or worse?’ he asks.
Things are better than they were but he still has up and down days.
He told Daily Mail Australia he would happily trade to have the tingling sensation he thought of as a nuisance back in place of the ongoing nerve pain and bruising feeling he now suffers.
Today, after grueling rehabilitation, he can walk – until one leg will just give out – enough to make him fall over.
He has functional issues with his upper limbs and is unable to use his left hand. His right tricep just starting to work again.
The father-of-two has launched a five million dollar lawsuit against a radiologist who injected him which caused the spinal stroke.
In 2014 the guided nerve root injection triggered a spinal stroke when it was inserted at a Brisbane radiology centre
Today, after grueling rehabilitation, he can walk – until one leg will just give out – enough to make him fall over
The father-of-two has a 12-year-old son and 9-year-old daughter. He says without the support of his wife Samantha he wouldn’t have been able to get through the hard times.
‘She’s been fantastic to support me and the kids through.’
It is because of them that he is motivated to maintain a positive outlook and persevere despite trying times.
‘It’s hard on the kids,’ he said. ‘When it first happened daughter went into meltdown. She would have nightmares and wake up in the middle of the night screaming.’
His son got angry at the world. ‘It forced him to grow up.’
He understands the injection vered into a blood vessel and damaged his spinal cord.
Never in his life did he imagine something like this would happen to him.
‘It’s actually been one of my biggest fears throughout life. It’s very scary.
‘I’ve been lucky to get back to where I am which is through rehabilitation and weekly physio.
‘It will never get back to normal, I am just hoping it will get better.’
The father-of-two says without the support of his wife Samantha he wouldn’t have been able to get through the hard times
He says that there have been many low points where it has been easy to question if it is all worth it but is determined to not let the situation get the best of him.
He says he doesn’t hold any animosity toward the man who solicited the injection as the situation has become something he has just had to accept.
‘I was angry, but it doesn’t achieve anything, it just eats away at you.
‘I just hope he has learnt from this and considers the risks more and informs his patients fully before procedures so they can make an informed choice.
‘It is probably something I will probably never fully get over.
‘I have had to accept that how I am now with the pain and limitations is the “new normal” and make the most of it.
‘I’ve been a fairly positive person but you definitely have the times where it is too painful – the constant nerve pain is at times unbearable.’
He is speaking out in a bid to raise awareness of the risks involved. He wasn’t told by any health care professionals about any chances that this would be his reality today.
Mr Foster (pictured left with wife and their two children) was initially undergoing the routine steroid injection to remedy pins and needles in three fingers
‘The main aim stop this happening to someone else. There are safer alternatives and there are safer ways of doing it.
Margaret Brain of Maurice Blackburn, who represents Mr Foster and two other Queenslanders who are now bound to wheelchairs following the injection, told Daily Mail Australia the trio had not been previously made aware of the risks involved with the injection.
She said all three, who have suffered greatly, want to share their circumstances in a bid to raise awareness and make future patients aware of the ‘small but significant’ risks.
She emphasised an importance of asking what is being used and what precautions are being taken to prevent a similar instance happening again.
The group will seek individually seek compensation for a chance to ease the burden of their situation.
‘Obviously when you suffer an injury like this it has a devastating effect on your life.
‘It comes at great emotional and financial cost so compensation obviously can’t restore their health but it provides a cushion to enable their lives to be as easy as possible and to access any sort of rehabilitation or aids and equipment to make their lives a little easier.’
Minter Ellison, the law firm who are representing the radiologist in the case, have been approached for comment.