‘Treated like trespassers’: Mum's battle to get son to QLD hospital

·3-min read

A mum in northern NSW, whose young son requires regular oncology scans, says he is being denied treatment across the border in Queensland during the ongoing Covid crisis.

Since four-year-old Knox Henry was diagnosed with a brain tumour two and a half years ago, his mother Candis has been driving him from their Kingscliff home to Brisbane Hospital for an MRI every three months.

But the escalating Delta outbreak has left northern NSW residents locked out of Queensland Health, forcing doctors to cancel his appointment multiple times.

“To be treated like trespassers and discriminated against because of our home address is shattering, and to be denied care and treatment of our four-year-old child seems ludicrously cruel and so so sad,” Candis told Yahoo News.

A photo of Candis holding Knox after his second surgery at Queensland Children's Hospital. Source: supplied
Kingscliff resident Candis Henry has been driving her son Knox to hospital in Brisbane every three months for routine scans since his brain tumour was discovered in 2018. Source: supplied

The scan to monitor the growth of Knox’s brain tumour was originally booked for August 28.

Doctors first postponed the appointment until September 15 to allow Candis time to get her first Covid jab. 

But it was delayed again today until early October amid ongoing uncertainty as to whether Candis and Knox will even be allowed to attend.

Family seeking approval for routine appointment

Candis was told by the oncology team they are under instructions that if the care can be provided in NSW, they must explore that option before even trying to apply for exemption.

She also requires a letter from Knox’s oncology doctor explaining why he needs to be seen in person, which then needs to be approved before the appointment can go ahead.

If it is approved, Candis will also need to provide a negative Covid test.

“As I listened, I could feel the tears welling in my eyes and the fire burning in my belly,” the mum of three said.

“Despite no cases of COVID in our local government area, we are still denied essential medical support.

“We’re being treated like Sydneysiders. There needs to be more humanity.”

A photo of Knox's MRI scan when he was first diagnosed. Source: supplied
Knox has undergone two surgeries since the tumour was discovered. Source: Supplied

Restrictions adding to treatment trauma

Candis says that even without the added stress of Covid restrictions, she hates the scan days.

She is forced to fast Knox before his appointment, then drive her hungry toddler an hour and 20 minutes to Brisbane hospital where he is placed under anaesthetic.

“These days are really hard for my son and myself," she said.

"Any adult who has had an MRI can appreciate the trauma it can cause and this is only exemplified for a little four-year-old boy and a mother who has to hold her son as he is put under for the MRI.”

A photo of Candis holding Knox at their last MRI appointment. Source: supplied
Candis said scan days were hard for them both but Queensland Children's Hospital was a "comforting place". Source: supplied.

Despite this, she said Queensland Children's Hospital has been a “comforting place’.

“He has been seeing this team for two and a half years, since the day we nearly lost him at age 16 months. It’s not fair. He can’t get the normal care he deserves," she said. 

“I’m sure you can understand the anger and exhaustion I feel when I hear the Queensland premier say that Queensland hospitals are for Queensland people.

“It doesn’t make sense. We live an hour away from the best hospital system for us but to get to it we have to apply.”

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