Four newborn babies in Adelaide, Australia have died after being denied life-saving heart surgery due to coronavirus travel restrictions.
Adelaide is the only mainland Australian capital that doesn’t provide paediatric cardiac surgery, therefore around 100 babies a year have to be sent interstate to receive treatment.
However, due to COVID-19 lockdown restrictions imposed by the Australian government, transfers to Melbourne have stopped and the babies have to make a longer journey to Sydney instead.
“Obsetrician Professor John Svigos said four babies who had died in Adelaide in the past month had been unable to be transferred and would have “almost certainly” benefited from on-site surgery,” reports 9 News.
Four Newborns in Adelaide have died after being denied lifesaving heart surgery because it wasn't available in Adelaide, and they couldn't be transferred interstate because of travel restrictions. #9News pic.twitter.com/IFZsv9kq4k— 9News Australia (@9NewsAUS) October 20, 2020
During a press conference on Wednesday, Victoria's Premier Daniel Andrews deflected blame for the newborns’ deaths. He said that his government’s health authorities told him that they did not prevent the children from being transported to Melbourne.
“I don't think it is a matter of restrictions,” he said, claiming “there was a choice not at our end, but the other end for them not to be sent.”
Adelaide’s Women's and Children's Hospital said in a statement that its pediatric cardiac surgery services are currently under review, and promised that “South Australian children will always have access to the health services they need.”
The deaths of the four newborns have sparked outrage across Australia.
In an on-air screed, Sky News Australia host Paul Murray lashed out at the “failures of South Australian government” and the “incompetence of the Victorian government,” and said it was “outrageous” that a developed country such as Australia was incapable of saving the children’s lives.
Numerous health experts have warned that the impact of coronavirus lockdown measures is having a devastating impact on health, with untold deaths due to serious illnesses going untreated.
Last month, Germany’s Minister of Economic Cooperation and Development, Gerd Muller, warned that lockdown measures throughout the globe will end up killing more people than the coronavirus itself.
“We expect an additional 400,000 deaths from malaria and HIV this year on the African continent alone,” Muller said, adding that “half a million more will die from tuberculosis.”
Muller’s comments arrived months after a leaked study from inside the German Ministry of the Interior revealed that the impact of the country’s lockdown could end up killing more people than the coronavirus due to victims of other serious illnesses not receiving treatment.
Another study found that lockdowns will conservatively “destroy at least seven times more years of human life” than they save.
Professor Richard Sullivan also warned that there will be more excess cancer deaths in the UK than total coronavirus deaths due to people’s access to screenings and treatment being restricted as a result of the lockdown.
His comments were echoed by Peter Nilsson, a Swedish professor of internal medicine and epidemiology at Lund University, who said, “It’s so important to understand that the deaths of COVID-19 will be far less than the deaths caused by societal lockdown when the economy is ruined.”
According to Professor Karol Sikora, an NHS consultant oncologist, there could be 50,000 excess deaths from cancer as a result of routine screenings being suspended during the lockdown in the UK.
Experts have also warned that there will be 1.4 million deaths globally from untreated TB infections due to the lockdown.
As we further previously highlighted, a data analyst consortium in South Africa found that the economic consequences of the country’s lockdown will lead to 29 times more people dying than the coronavirus itself.
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