Prime Minister Scott Morrison has issued a please explain to Queensland after a pregnant NSW mum who lost her unborn child felt forced to travel to Sydney.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has issued a please explain to Queensland after a pregnant NSW mum who lost her unborn child felt forced to travel to Sydney. AnaBGD

Scott Morrison wants answers over baby's death

A heartbroken Prime Minister Scott Morrison has demanded Queensland explain why a pregnant mum who lost her unborn child felt forced to travel to Sydney for medical care instead of seeking an exemption to cross the border.

The Ballina woman faced an agonising 16 hour wait to get on a flight to Sydney for emergency medical treatment for her unborn twins after trying to get access to Brisbane but determining applying for a border exemption would have taken too long.

Mr Morrison said the loss of the baby girl was "terribly distressing" and required an "explanation" from Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk.

"There would need to be an extraordinary explanation in relation to (why) someone wouldn't be able to get medical treatment in this circumstance," he said.

"Any Australian, wherever they are in need of medical treatment should be able to access it, particularly in an emergency, in any Australian hospital, whatever state they're in."

Mr Morrison had a simple message for the grieving mother.

"My heart breaks for you," he said.

One of the baby's grandfathers, Allan Watt, said his daughter is still in Sydney and "terribly upset."

"I feel something needs to be done … If I could do anything to help anyone else to make sure this doesn't happen again," he said.

Mr Watt said even if Queensland Health would have accepted an exemption it would have taken too long to have gone through.

"They may as well have denied it because she had to have an emergency operation," Mr Watt said.

"Instead of that she had to wait 24 hours before she could have one in Sydney.

"I've got a daughter sitting here worrying her guts out whether she was going to lose her babies or not and then having to fly all the way to Sydney and split our family up because it would take too long for the paperwork.

"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 six or seven hours later.

"They found out yesterday and went for a scan and the baby was deceased.

"I'm not blaming the Health System in Queensland, the same thing could've happened if they could've gone to the Brisbane Hospital with what's happened to them now, but the fact is it could have made a difference."

Annastacia Palaszczuk said the girl's death was a tragedy, but denied her government was preventing urgent interstate cases from accessing medical treatment in Queensland.

"I think we're very very compassionate in this state and … if there is someone that needs emergency care, if they need a helicopter to fly them to one of our hospitals, that will happen," she said.

 


"If they need an ambulance to come and the clinicians decide the best place and the fastest place they go, they will not be stopped from going."

Ms Palaszczuk said she did not regret previously saying Queensland hospitals were for Queenslanders.

"These are really difficult decisions," she said.

Ms Palaszczuk said she did not get involved in specific cases and decisions made by clinicians.

Mr Morrison said he would write to premiers about the ongoing issues with hard border closures.

"Unfortunately there hasn't been an agreement on the principles that should drive (border restrictions)," he said.

"There needs to be exemptions and they need to be properly applied.

"They can't just be blanket arrangements here. "

Mr Morrison said he didn't want to pre-empt the facts of the case of the baby girl's deaths, but expected a thorough explanation.

"I (don't) think anyone can say definitely about whether the outcome might have been different," he said.

"I can't say that the clinical issues and whether exemptions … contributed.

"There needs to be an explanation as to why an exemption was not provided in this rather very extreme case.

"I think those answers are obviously necessary."

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