An unborn baby died this week after an Australian woman heavily pregnant with twins waited 16 hours for emergency care in Sydney, allegedly after she was told she would be unable to cross the Queensland border due to CCP virus travel restrictions.
The family of the woman, who is from Ballina in New South Wales, claims she was forced to travel from Lismore to a hospital in Sydney after she was initially told she would be unable to obtain a CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus border exemption to undergo surgery at the Gold Coast University Hospital in Brisbane, some 125 km (78 miles) away.
The woman’s father, Allan Watt, told media outlets that the family found out on Thursday that one of the unborn twins, who were 24 weeks along, had died. He said the baby became anemic during surgery at Sydney’s Royal Prince Alfred Hospital.
“They 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 6 or 7 hours later,” he told the Courier Mail, adding that he believes if his daughter was treated in Brisbane, it could have made a difference.
“They found out yesterday and went for a scan and the baby was deceased.”
“She was the healthy bub and unfortunately she was the one who passed away yesterday,” he told 4BC radio on Friday.
Watt said a doctor told the family they could not cross the border for care.
“It’s busted our family apart, I’m up here, her sisters and brothers are in Queensland and they’re in Sydney,” Watt told the radio station.
Queensland’s top health official Dr. Jeannette Young granted the border exemption for the Ballina woman after she had already flown to Sydney.
Young said that applications for CCP virus exemptions are not required in emergency cases, and ambulances or helicopters won’t be stopped at the border, AAP reported. The health official said she has received a flood of requests that has made it difficult to filter and process genuine applications.
“I believe I am a compassionate person but at this point in time we are working through the process. All of these exemptions come to me and I work through them,” she said.
“That’s not sustainable because we are getting so many requests now, we are getting very large numbers of requests, particularly from Victorians who want to come up to Queensland because they don’t want to remain in lockdown.”
“I actually genuinely believe, and we do this in Queensland, that whenever possible you should get care close to where you live,” the chief health officer added. “You shouldn’t be travelling for hours to get care, so this applies to people who live in NSW.”
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk described the death of the baby as an “absolutely tragedy.”