A Queensland grandmother says her plea to quarantine on her rural property after undergoing emergency brain surgery in Sydney has fallen on deaf ears.
Jayne Brown, 60, from the Sunshine Coast, had been living with a tumour on top of her brain for 10 years until an MRI taken one month ago revealed she had developed a second tumour behind her right eye.
Despite being told by her neurosurgeon to just wait and monitor the tumours, Ms Brown, who was suffering severe tooth pain and had a protruding eye, contacted renowned neurosurgeon Dr Charlie Teo for a second opinion.
“He said we needed to take them out immediately otherwise I was going to be paralysed or blind, or both,” the grandmother of seven told Yahoo News Australia.
Ms Brown and her partner, Clem Wyer, rushed to coronavirus hotspot Sydney and underwent a successful surgery on August 10 at Prince of Wales Hospital.
Both tumours were removed, but because they had embedded in her skull, Dr Teo had to insert titanium plates.
While in hospital, the couple applied for a COVID exemption so Ms Brown could quarantine and recover at their two-acre Mooloolah Valley home on the Sunshine Coast.
Despite their detailed self-imposed coronavirus plan, which led them to stock the fridge before they left, Ms Brown said the Queensland Health Department knocked them back.
Dr Teo had also wrote to Dr Jeannette Young, the state’s chief health officer, saying its was best for the 60-year-old to recover at home, Ms Brown told Yahoo News Australia.
“In her reply she said she had received emails from members of Parliament and Dr Teo, however, our request was denied,” Ms Brown said.
“If having major brain surgery is not an exceptional circumstance I don’t know what is.”
A Queensland Health spokesperson told Yahoo News Australia it knows “a lot of Queenslanders are doing it tough at the moment.”
“Our restrictions are strict but necessary to keep Queenslanders safe from COVID-19, which is why we rarely grant exemptions to our quarantine measures.
“We need to get this right – we have seen other nations, and indeed our neighbouring states, fall to extreme levels of community transmission, illness and death,” the spokesperson said.
Ms Brown questioned why celebrities like Keith Urban, Nicole Kidman and Dannii Minogue, were all granted quarantine expeditions last month to isolate in their homes, while she was not.
‘We see at least 20 people’
Ms Brown and Mr Wyer, who have not undergone coronavirus tests, told Yahoo News Australia they encounter numerous people during their daily 20-minute fresh air break.
“We’re in more contact with people in that 20 minutes than we would be at home,” she said, adding that the quarantined guests are allowed to walk around in an underground area where the hotel receives its deliveries.
The couple said they probably walk past at least 20 to 30 people.
“I’m supposed to be in quarantine and I’ve got all these people walking past,” Ms Brown said.
Battling severe pain
Ms Brown is only taking Panadol for the pain from her surgery, and is using a heat pack, which she says together work very well.
However, the hotel room they were placed in doesn’t have a microwave and she found herself suffering severely.
She said the hotel refused to give her a microwave before suggesting she ask for an update to a room with one.
“If we have to do this, we don’t mind, but if you’re going to make us, make sure we can have better amenities for her,” Mr Wyer said.
Police appeared at their door on Tuesday morning and moved the pair to a different and better equipped hotel with a separate lounge and microwave.
“So I’m a very happy girl at this moment,” she told Yahoo News Australia, adding she’d been able to stabilise her pain greatly.
The couple will be able to return to their home on Saturday.
The 14-day stay has added $3,710 to the couple’s mounting $100,000 medical bills.
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