Pregnant mum from Hayling Island with jaw-eating bug nearly lost her unborn child during two-year fight to get PIP payments

A PREGNANT mother has spent the last two years fighting for government payments while she was suffering with an infection that ate the bone away in her jaw.

Saturday, 7th December 2019, 6:00 am
Updated Saturday, 7th December 2019, 9:18 am

Sara Pollard-Dambach from Hayling Island has told of her anger after she spent two years trying to get Personal Independence Payments while she was wheelchair bound after suffering from a tooth abscess which led to a bone infection that ate her jaw and meant she had to have her coccyx removed.

Despite being virtually bedbound for two years and in extreme pain she has never received any PIP, which are designed to help with disability or a health condition – potentially missing out on thousands of pounds.

The 32-year-old said: ‘I am disgusted at the way I have been treated and I feel utterly let down and defeated.

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Sara and Oliver Pollard-Dambach and their daughter, Chloe, 9, with Ronron, pictured at home in Hayling Island. Picture: Chris Moorhouse (020619-26)

‘It was like they didn’t believe me despite letters from doctors and the fact I couldn’t physically move without being in pain.’

The former cake baker fell and fractured her coccyx at a play area in March 2017. Later on in July of the same year she had a tooth abscess and, according to doctors’ notes, her inferior alveolar nerve was damaged and 10 months later she was diagnosed with osteomyelitis – a serious bone infection.

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In May this year she had her coccyx removed while also suffering with a painful pilonidal sinus (a small hole or tunnel in the skin that fills with pus) around the top of her buttocks.

An x-ray of Sara's fractured coccyx bone

Sara, who runs the social media from her bed for her husband's restaurant, McDambi’s at Seacourt, said: ‘The bone infection had also gone into the coccyx and so it had to be removed. I have been in pain for the last two years and barely been able to move from my bed.

‘In recent months I have been better and can walk to the kitchen but my husband Oliver and daughter Chloe, who is only nine, have been taking care of me. It has meant a massive loss of earnings for us as a family and the PIP payments would have been thousands of pounds that could have helped us in our time of need.

‘We had to eat from food banks and the Hayling Island community raised money to help us as well as friends and family which we will always be grateful for.’

Sara, who is now 15 weeks pregnant, applied for PIP in October 2017 and after a series of tribunals and an appeal court hearing before another assessment was held, Sara received notice that the original decision to deny her PIP payments was upheld.

She added: ‘The whole ordeal has been awful and I feel it truly shows the system does not work.

‘When I had my reassessment it was so stressful that I had a haemorrhage and thought I had miscarried.

'Luckily a hospital scan showed a heartbeat. It is perhaps not the greatest timing but we couldn’t be happier to extend our family.

‘But for the sake of my child, I am truly done with fighting the DWP.’

A DWP spokesman said: ‘We are committed to ensuring disabled people get the support they are entitled to.

‘Based on the evidence available – including a letter from her GP - we made the decision that Ms Pollard-Dambach is not eligible for PIP, and that decision has been upheld by an independent tribunal.

‘PIP helps with the extra costs of a disability or health condition. Ms Pollard-Dambach continues to receive Employment Support Allowance, which helps with day-to-day living costs.’