David Jonsson
David Jonsson

Man forced into hotel quarantine after brain surgery

A HIGHFIELDS man who was treated by world-leading neurosurgeon Charlie Teo has been forced into hotel quarantine despite his doctors recommending he undertake quarantine at home.

David Jonsson flew to Sydney on August 31 to undergo brain surgery to remove a tumour, which Queensland doctors did not want to operate on.

His father, Stan Jonsson, said David contacted Professor Teo, who agreed to operate on him.

"He was not prepared to sit and do nothing," Mr Jonsson said.

"Everything happened quickly, he had to go to Sydney. He had no option."

Both Prof Teo and other health experts provided the Jonsson family with documentation recommending David undertake the mandatory quarantine at home, as it was imperative to his recovery.

"The application (for hotel quarantine exemption) was put forward to Queensland Health about a month ago now, prior to going to down to surgery," Mr Jonsson said.

The family went back and forth with Queensland Health, but got nowhere.

"Every time we phoned, it was answered and the people on the other end were helpful, but as they said their hands were tied, they could only forward on an urgent request which is what they did," Mr Jonsson said.

"Our next communication from Queensland Health was prior to getting on the flight to come back. They told us don't do any paperwork ... as they're still looking at the application and they'd let us know straight way.

"We get off the airplane with a reply saying the application had been rejected. There was no reason why."

Are hotel quarantine rules too strict?

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Mr Jonsson, who travelled with David for the surgery and is with him in hotel quarantine, said the family were furious about what had happened.

"The important thing is David's recovery and he's been put under a huge amount of stress trying to process this whole thing," he said.

"Stress is probably the worst thing ever for any recovery.

"It feels there is a double standard. If we were AFL players or Hollywood stars there would be a different attitude.

"We're just Queenslanders trying to get home."

Mr Jonsson said David, his wife and two kids lived on an acreage at Highfields and would have isolated there, with David's rehabilitation equipment for the two weeks.

He said he hoped Queensland Health would reconsider their decision and let David go home.

"That would be the best thing for physical rehabilitation and mental health for David," he said.

"Whether we have any hope of that I don't know, otherwise we'll continue to make the best of where we are."

Queensland Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young said a medical hotel had been set up for cases like the Jonsson family at the Ridges Hotel at Southbank.

"We now have a medical hotel which is essentially a hospital in a hotel," she said.

"Any cases like that are in a medical hotel and they receive a lot more care than they would than at home, so it's better care for them."

Toowoomba North MP Trevor Watts said he was "disappointed" in the decision to deny David's exemption.

"David's tumour was deemed inoperable by doctors in Queensland, which is why he made the decision to travel to Sydney to have the lifesaving operation," Mr Watts said.

"The treating neurosurgeon, Prof Charlie Teo, classified David's condition as exceptional circumstances and said home isolation was imperative to his recovery.

"Being placed into hotel quarantine puts the remarkable progress David has already made, and his further recovery, at risk.

"All we are asking for is some common sense and compassion. I implore the Chief Health Officer to reconsider David's application to quarantine at his home in Highfields."


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