Lifestyle News

Words coming back to haunt Premier after unborn baby’s death

A NSW mother is grieving the loss of her unborn child after a border debacle where she was told it would take too long to get an exemption to enter Queensland for emergency surgery.As a result, the family never applied for an exemption to enter the state from a nearby border town and was forced…

A NSW mother is grieving the loss of her unborn child after a border debacle where she was told it would take too long to get an exemption to enter Queensland for emergency surgery.

As a result, the family never applied for an exemption to enter the state from a nearby border town and was forced to fly to Sydney.

But in a heartbreaking twist, Queensland health officials now say she was wrongly advised by doctors and never would have been refused entry.

Last week, Queensland Premier said the state’s hospitals were “for our people only”.

The Prime Minister says the case is “very distressing” and called for compassion on the borders.

Allan Watt, the father of the woman, told The Courier Mailhis daughter had to wait 16 hours before she could get a care flight to Sydney and then another “six or seven” hours before the emergency surgery.

“They found out yesterday and went for a scan and the baby was deceased,” Mr Watt told the publication.

“I’m not blaming the Health System in Queensland, the same thing could’ve happened if they could’ve gone to the Brisbane Hospital with what’s happened to them now, but the fact is it could have made a difference.”

Mr Watt said the pregnant mum was advised getting the paperwork to get into Queensland would take too long.

“They may as well have denied it because she had to have an emergency operation,” Mr Watt said.

“Instead of that she had to wait 24 hours before she could have one in Sydney.waited 16 hours at the Lismore Base Hospital before they could get a care flight to Sydney and they got to Sydney at one in the morning and operated on her about six or seven hours later.”

NSW health says the woman was told her husband would need to quarantine at his expense for a fortnight if they went to Queensland and as a result were advised to go to Sydney.

“We send our deepest condolences to the woman and her family,’’ Northern NSW Local Health CEO Wayne Jones said.

“While the preferred location for the family to give birth was a hospital in Brisbane, under the Queensland Border Direction at the time, the woman and her partner would have had to quarantine in a government hotel for 14 days , at their own expense, prior to the procedure.

“Following discussion with Royal Prince Alfred specialists, in Sydney, the woman travelled to Sydney for the procedure where she would not be required to quarantine.”

The tragic news comes more than a week after Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk was criticised for saying Queensland hospitals were “for our people only” after a question about the NSW woman being refused entry to Brisbane.

“People living in NSW they have NSW hospitals. In Queensland we have Queensland hospitals for our people,” she said.

NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard called Ms Palaszczuk’s comments “astonishing” and urged her to review her border arrangements to “ensure patients receive the health care they need”.

This morning, Ms Palaszczuk said the death of a baby was a tragedy, but denied Queensland was blocking urgent interstate medical cases to be treated in the state’s hospitals.

“I think we’re very very compassionate in this state and … if there is someone that needs emergency care, if they need a helicopter to fly them to one of our hospitals, that will happen,” she said.

“If they need an ambulance to come and the clinicians decide the best place and the fastest place they go, they will not be stopped from going.”

She said she did not regret her comment that Queensland hospitals were for Queenslanders.

“These are really difficult decisions,” she said.

She said patients should be treated in hospitals local to them. However she said that they would be treated in Queensland if it was an emergency or if Queensland had the required expertise.

“But we are living through a global pandemic at the moment,” she said.

Ms Palaszczuk said she did not want to talk about a specific case and decisions were made by clinicians.

“This is an absolute tragedy, about this young baby,” she said. “I mean there’s a woman who’s grieving at the moment and many people know what that feels like.

“So if the clinicians make that urgent decision about where a young person needs to go, that will be made in the best interests of that young person.”

Queensland Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young said Queensland provides emergency services to northern NSW and “that has never changed”.

“Police do not stop ambulances, they do not stop Life Flight helicopters,” she said. “I believe that I am a compassionate person.”

Mr Morrison described the events as “terribly distressing” and called for flexibility and compassion on the borders.

“This is terribly distressing. It’s heartbreaking,” he said. “And there needs to be an explanation as to how these, these hard border arrangements, can lead to people not getting access to this care as it seems to be the case here.

“I don’t know all the facts here and it’s important that they’re all known and I don’t want to get ahead of that process. But as I’ll be making a comment here today, I understand why there can be recommendations about having border restrictions under a COVID pandemic.

“But at the same time, they would need to be an extraordinary explanation in relation to how someone wouldn’t be able to get medical treatment in these circumstances. So there does need to be an explanation here.

“And again, these restrictions need to be put in place with compassion, with common sense and understanding all the risks, not just the COVID risks that present.”

Leave a Comment