A four-year-old boy is being denied treatment for a brain injury due to coronavirus border closures after plunging from a balcony.
Kobi Nott fell and cracked his skull while his mother Belinda cooked dinner at their home in Lismore, north-east New South Wales, on May 18.
The youngster suffered brain damage and has been in and out Brisbane Children’s Hospital in Queensland – the closest hospital to Lismore – since the accident.
Despite medical advice, Queensland Health told the mother-of-four that Kobi will have to continue his treatment at Sydney Children’s hospital because of border closures enforced to curb the spread of COVID-19.
The Brisbane hospital is only two-and-a-half hours away from the family’s home, while the Sydney hospital is 12 hours away.
Kobi Nott fell and cracked his skull while his mother Belinda cooked dinner at their home in Lismore, north-east New South Wales
Pictured: Belinda Nott (centre) with her four children, left, to right: Keegan, 11, Kobi, age four, Zali, age eight, and Alexis, 13
Ms Nott told Daily Mail Australia travelling such a long distance with school-age children is not feasible, let alone with an ill child like Kobi who does not cope with extended periods away from home or in the car.
‘I am a single mum of four children and the alternative of travelling to Sydney Children’s Hospital which is the closest paediatric hospital offering the same services is not an ideal option,’ she said.
‘Sydney is 12 hours away, and a COVID-19 hotspot.’
She said her once healthy son now endures seizures, speech problems, balance issues, decreased attention span and worrying mood swings, and fears he will never recover without ongoing medical attention.
Ms Nott was told that Kobi will have to continue his treatment at Sydney Children’s hospital because of border closures enforced to curb the spread of COVID-19
Kobi Nott has been under the care of a range of specialists since the accident in May
He has been under the care of a range of specialists, including neurosurgeons, neurologists, occupational therapists, and ear, nose and throat experts in Brisbane for the past three months.
While the family had been crossing the Queensland-NSW border for in-person appointments, the state line was closed on Saturday and Kobi the hospital began setting up video appointments.
Ms Nott fears that Kobi will miss out on vital scans to find the cause of his seizures.
‘The major issue right now is that until we see the neurologist, no one can know where the seizures are coming from, and if they are untreated and could cause permanent damage,’ she said.
Ms Nott fears that Kobi will miss out on vital scans to find the cause of his seizures (pictured: dressings on the boy’s fractured skull)
Kobi’s extensive medication regime has also started making him sick and he needs in-person appointments
Kobi’s extensive medication regime has also started making him sick and he needs in-person appointments.
A Queensland Health spokesperson told 7 News the pair ‘do not require an exemption but they must have a border pass and written support from their treating facility’.
But Ms Nott claimed the department said making the 12-hour trip to Sydney was the best option.
Kobi has video appointments with Brisbane Children’s Hospital booked up to November this year.
Ms Nott said making the 12-hour trip to Sydney with four children (pictured: Keegan, Kobi, Zali and Alexis) is not feasible
Ms Nott was cooking dinner in the same room as Kobi on the evening of the accident
Ms Nott was cooking dinner in the same room as Kobi on the evening of the accident.
‘I walked out of the room for 20 or 30 seconds and he went out the door and overbalanced on the balcony rail,’ she said.
She said he ‘had always been an active kid who loves the outdoors’, but had never climbed over the balcony before.