Mum forced to grieve young son’s death in hotel quarantine
A mother's heartbreak over the tragic death of her son has been cruelly amplified as she is forced to sit in hotel mandatory quarantine, 14 days alone with her devastation.
Gold Coast mum Deborah K Bates lost her son late last month after a terrible car crash in a notorious Sydney tunnel claimed his life.
Ms Bates and her daughter applied early to be exempted from hotel quarantine for compassionate reasons, to grieve at home, but received gut-wrenching news that their requests would be denied.
"His sister was denied the exemption before she finalised her travel arrangements (to Sydney) so then made the decision not to attend the funeral which was heartbreaking for her because they were very close," Ms Bates told The Courier-Mail.
"I hadn't received notification and there was no way I was going to miss his funeral anyway, so I went to Sydney and came back to the hotel in Sydney after the funeral and found the email saying my application had been denied.
"It was at the moment I knew flying the next day into the Gold Coast I would be put in mandatory hotel quarantine which just absolutely floored me, I was inconsolable - apart from having just buried my son, making the trip back alone and then the whole procedure."
Ms Bates is in mandatory hotel quarantine until September 18, and while staff and Queensland Health have been supportive for her mental health, she says the experience has been "dehumanising".
"The way the airport has been transformed into something unrecognisable, there's not friendly flight staff, there's just police and army and it felt so dehumanising given my circumstances," she said.
"I was this sobbing mess and for me it was humiliating to sit there (on the bus) and be inconsolable with strangers.
"I'm not political, I don't engage in those sorts of discussions. But I have felt this entire process has been very dehumanising.
"Not quite the homecoming I would ever have wanted. For me or anyone who has experienced loss. Not the place I would have wanted to begin my mourning process."
While the pain and heartbreak is still raw, Ms Bates wanted to share her story in the hope that every compassionate exemption request is more carefully thought about by health officials.
"I think if you're facing the death of a loved one, to me it's cut and dry, particularly on the back of what we're hearing about people coming in and dictating their own quarantine like celebrities and footballers," she said.
"When it becomes your immediate family I think that's when they have to absolutely draw the line."
Ms Bates said her son, who was in his 20s and was doing all the right things while driving, had his whole life ahead of him.
"He had gone to Sydney to pursue his career as a baker, he was an excellent baker and he had found the love of his life," she said.
"He was working in a bakery, and they've even named a pie after him now."
A Queensland Health spokesperson said: "We know this is tough, but this about preventing more people dying".
"We've seen what happens when things don't go right in other states and other countries, and we're working so hard to protect Queenslanders from those same consequences."
Originally published as Mum forced to grieve young son's death in hotel quarantine