Australian Man Experiences Rare Instance of Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS)

June 20, 2017

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A Sydney man who was paralysed by a rare autoimmune disease while holidaying in New Zealand last month has returned home to face a slow and painful recovery.

Eastern Suburbs plumber Brad Bishop was celebrating his 60th birthday with a short trip to Auckland accompanied by his wife Melanie when he suddenly fell ill.

After being admitted to hospital, his condition deteriorated, initially losing movement in his legs before being paralysed from the neck down, Mr Bishop’s daughter Kyrsty told

She said doctors had diagnosed her father with Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS), a rare disorder in which a person’s immune system damages the body’s cells, leading to muscle weakness and sometimes paralysis.

Mr Bishop was flown back to Australia aboard a medivac flight earlier this week, but his family say he is facing a long and hard road to recovery at the Prince of Wales Hospital in Randwick.

“He has regained movement in his arms and has started to take a few steps with the help of nursing staff,” said Kyrsty Bishop.

“He is due to start rehab next week, but from what I know about GBS it could take months for him to regain full fitness.”

Ms Bishop said her father, a former player and manager of the famous Randwick rugby union club, had suffered a gastro-type bug shortly before his current illness.

After being hospitalised in New Zealand he had twice been cleared to return to Sydney, but was forced to remain in Auckland City Hospital when his condition worsened.

The Bishop family have set up a fundraising campaign on Go Fund Me with a target of $30,000 to support the self-employed plumber.

Guillain-Barre syndrome will affect one in 100,000 people. The rare disorder damages the body’s ability to send signals to certain muscles, causing weakness, numbness or even paralysis.


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