Life changing petition the key to little Emily’s heart
A Townsville family has been told they should move to "a bigger city" so they can access specialist care for their daughter who requires a heart transplant.
Amanda Stones' two-year-old daughter Emily has a life threatening heart condition and will need an operation in a couple of years, but with no paediatric cardiologist in Townsville they are forced to travel to Brisbane for treatment.
But there is now a push to get a full-time cardiologist based in North Queensland through a parliamentary e-petition, which will save about 80 families from the gruelling travel.
It will be tabled in parliament next week by the Katter's Australian Party's Nick Dametto after Amanda managed to draw more than 1500 signatures.
Amanda said the family sees a doctor in Townsville every six weeks for a heart scan, with a cardiologist review in Brisbane taking weeks for a result.
She said it would be more efficient to have a cardiologist in Townsville when scans are done.
"It's quite challenging, these kids do have serious heart and health issues so to travel over 1000km to get the help they need is really hard," Amanda said.
"We're away from our home, we're away from our support network and in our situation we were in Brisbane for three months.
"We were away from our family, we were away from our employers, so that had a big financial impact on us.
"We chose to live in North Queensland, we've chosen to live on a nice little rural block out of town, it would break our heart to have to move from living up here."
Communities, Disability Services and Seniors Minister, and Mundingburra MP Coralee O'Rourke said while recruiting a paediatric cardiologist in Townsville wouldn't stop children needing to go to Brisbane or Melbourne for their care, it may allow them to travel less often.
Minister O'Rourke last week came out in strong support for a paediatric emergency department in Townsville, and said the hospital and health service is also looking at ways to improve paediatric cardiac services in North Queensland.
"For the littlies it must feel like the land of the giants surrounded by big machines and big people," she said.
"I absolutely support establishing a local service and I will continue to talk to the Hospital and Health Service about improving care for children in North Queensland."
Originally published as Life changing petition the key to little Emily's heart