Rules split family
TRAVELLING to Brisbane every two months to undergo treatment for a brain tumour is hard enough for four-year-old Sam Bradshaw.
But to add to the family's list of worries the Kingaroy Hospital will only pay for one of his parents to travel with him.
Sam's parents Michelle Nielsen and Lenny Bradshaw said they were shocked when they were told the hospital would only cover one of them to stay at Leonard Lodge.
Leonard Lodge supplies sick children and their families with accommodation but, because Sam's treatment is not considered an emergency, the family has to come up with an extra $40.
And to make matters worse, Ms Nielsen was diagnosed with breast cancer and had to undergo emergency surgery just months before Sam was diagnosed with a brain tumour.
Mr Bradshaw lost his job and has become Ms Nielsen's full-time carer as well as caring for Sam and daughter Laylah.
"I know $40 doesn't seem like a lot of money to most people but when you have to purchase meals and pay for parking it all adds up," Ms Nielsen said.
"Neither Lenny or I can work and we already stretch our Centrelink payments as far as we can."
Mr Bradshaw said, because of Ms Nielsen's condition, it made it difficult for her to go alone with Sam to Brisbane or even stay behind and look after Laylah.
"WE only have one car so if Sam's diagnosis changes how can the other one get to Brisbane?" he said.
"If both parents are fit and healthy then it would be a different story.
"But Michelle is not well enough to look after the kids on her own."
Ms Nielsen said she was gob-smacked and baffled as to what warranted an extreme enough case.
"I want to march my son into the hospital and have them tell him he can't have both parents stay with him," she said.
"It's hard enough for us to deal with," she said.
"Lenny and I need each other for support.
"We can't believe the way we have been treated by the hospital; they have no compassion.
"There's just no way we wouldn't both go; it's just not an option."
Both parents said if the State Government invested more money in regional areas it would significantly improve their lives.
"Even if a specialist could travel to Kingaroy it would make things easier," Ms Nielsen said.
"But we don't have that choice and have to travel to Brisbane.
"Regional hospitals are not offered anything in the way of services.
"We feel the State Government needs to invest more money for services because the current system is simply not good enough."