Cancer patient quarantined in Launceston hotel following treatment in Sydney after compassionate exemption denied

Health minister Sarah Courtney. Picture: Brodie Weeding
Health minister Sarah Courtney. Picture: Brodie Weeding

A Devonport man living with prostate cancer was forced into quarantine in Launceston despite applying for a compassionate exemption.

The 68-year-old, who asked to remain anonymous, recently returned to Tasmania on the Spirit of Tasmania after receiving cancer treatment in Sydney.

The necessary treatment is not available in Tasmania.

Upon arrival at the port of Devonport he and 11 other passengers were loaded onto a bus and taken into quarantine at a Launceston hotel.

The man's wife, support network and medical team are all based in the North-West.

He is due to be released from quarantine later this week, but his wife said a compassionate exemption should have been granted so that he could quarantine in the self-contained unit they own at home, or at least in one of the government facilities in Devonport.

Instead, she said, an immune-compromised man's life was risked by exposing him during the transport to Launceston and forcing him to forgo his medication for a period.

They need to look at the way they treat people.

"We knew if he had to go into 14 days isolation he would run out of his cancer and blood pressure tablets," she said.

They had arranged for a Devonport chemist to deliver his medication as he expected to be quarantined in Devonport, but that was not possible to arrange in Launceston on a weekend.

"His doctor is at the North West Regional Hospital in Burnie which was closed. One of the tablets is not kept by the chemists and has to be ordered in.

Keith Lynch and his partner were also upset about the quarantine transport from the Spirit of Tasmania terminal to Launceston recently. Picture: Simon Sturzaker

Keith Lynch and his partner were also upset about the quarantine transport from the Spirit of Tasmania terminal to Launceston recently. Picture: Simon Sturzaker

"To cut a long story short I found an old prescription with one repeat left and had no option but to drive to Launceston.

"They need to look at the way they treat people."

Additionally, the quarantine facility did not heed his dietary requests and had initially served him seafood, to which he is deathly allergic.

The man's wife said she also has underlying health issues and should have been self-isolating during this time, not driving to Launceston to deliver medication.

State health minister Sarah Courtney said she would not comment on individual cases for privacy reasons.

"However... the state controller can grant exemptions to people who are travelling so they don't need to go into quarantine hotels.

"They are done on a case-by-case basis on compassionate grounds and with supporting medical evidence.

"We also ensure for those people that do need to quarantine within one of the facilities that we're providing regular support to them.

"That includes medical support to ensure that they are staying well and healthy while they're in those facilities."

The man's wife said they applied for an exemption on April 27 with a supporting letter from his doctor in Sydney.

On Sunday, the couple were yet to be contacted by the government.

This story Cancer patient denied compassionate quarantine exemption first appeared on The Examiner.