Cancer patient is saddled with huge debt after he was forced to pay $17,000 to have surgery or DIE when the public system became overwhelmed by coronavirus
- Shane Such was left with $17,00 debt for surgery in QLD private health system
- The cancer patient was forced out of public health system due to COVID-19
- He was left reeling after attempting to access superannuation funds to pay debt
- Learn more about how to help people impacted by COVID
A cancer patient has been left thousands of dollars in debt after being forced into the private healthcare system because of coronavirus.
Shane Such had to pay $17,000 for life-saving surgery at a Queensland hospital because elective surgeries were cancelled to reduce pressure on the public health network.
Mr Such was diagnosed with stage one kidney cancer and told he needed to remove a kidney or he would die within five years.
The survivor told 7 News the alternative to having surgery wasn’t worth considering.
Shane Such (pictured, right) and his wife Marian Maassen (pictured, left) lost their jobs when COVID-19 took hold of the Australia
‘Who wants to live with cancer in their body for three or six months and see what happens?’ he said.
Sugery had been scheduled through the public system for March but it was cancelled when the federal government ordered a halt to elective surgeries due to COVID-19.
Mr Such and his wife Marian Maassen lost their jobs when COVID-19 took hold of the Australia.
But the pair opted to proceed with surgery through the private system under the understanding Mr Such could pay off the debt by accessing his superannuation funds early because he was deemed in ‘financial hardship’.
So he had his kidney removed and put the $17,000 bill on his credit card.
But when he attempted to access his funds from his superannuation provider BUSSQ he hit a road block.
Despite being eligible he was told because they had paid for the medical expenses upfront he was unable to get the funds from the Australian Taxation Office.
The insurer told him the decision came down to the ATO, and they were unable to grant him access without approval.
Mr Such said the system is broken.
‘We can’t help what happened, but that money’s mine. I don’t want it for myself, I want it to pay my bills,’ he said.
Federal treasurer Josh Frydenberg has vowed to take up Mr Such’s case with the superannuation fund.
‘That seems like a very bad outcome for someone who needs that support,’ Mr Frydenberg said.
A spokesperson for the Australian Taxation Office said they couldn’t comment on specific cases due to obligations of confidentiality and privacy under the law.
Daily Mail Australia has contacted BUSSQ for comment.
Shane Such (pictured) was diagnosed with stage one kidney cancer and told he needed to remove a kidney or he would die within five years