How cruel Covid policies are STILL stopping families seeing dying relatives as they're forced to endure SEVEN-HOUR exemption process - while sports stadiums are packed out

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Patients are left to die 'alone and scared' due to 'inhumane' visitation policiesWoman was prevented from seeing dying mother while paperwork processedThe NSW Premier and Minister for Health both apologised to the family 

Patients are being left to die alone and scared in hospitals because of ‘inhumane’ policies, while stadiums and concerts are packed, grieving families say.

Families in NSW have been forced to apply for visitation exemptions that can take up to seven hours to approve to see their dying relatives – sometimes coming all too late.

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Joanna La Macchia was not allowed to see her dying father Antonio Coluccio, 71, after he was admitted to Royal Prince Alfred with Covid-19 in early January.

She is fully vaccinated and begged to be allowed to see her dad in his final hours, but was not allowed.

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Families have slammed the NSW government for keeping them away from dying loved ones in hospital  (pictured, a patient in the ICU of St Vincent's Hospital in Sydney)

Families have slammed the NSW government for keeping them away from dying loved ones in hospital  (pictured, a patient in the ICU of St Vincent’s Hospital in Sydney)

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With case numbers easing and ICU rates low, restrictions have been dropped. But the came can't be said for hospital visits (pictured, New Year's Eve in Sydney)

With case numbers easing and ICU rates low, restrictions have been dropped. But the came can’t be said for hospital visits (pictured, New Year’s Eve in Sydney)

‘I was crying hysterically because I wasn’t able to see him,’ she told the 2GB radio station’s Ben Fordham.

Ms La Macchia’s mother was allowed to see her husband, but had to leave the room after an hour. 

She was told she would have to reapply for another exemption the next day, but Antonio died before she could do so.

‘They said she couldn’t stay, it wasn’t an option. We were told we would have to reapply for a visit again tomorrow. 

‘We didn’t want to leave that night because we knew he didn’t have much longer.’

Ms La Macchia, 43, said the process of getting approval for an exemption to visit took seven hours.

‘He could’ve died in that time, it didn’t feel like a priority at the time and we knew he was about to die,’ she said.

‘We are totally distraught. We have to live with the fact he died alone and scared. People should hang their heads in shame.’

Ms La Macchia said it’s not right that the NSW government has opened sport stadiums and concert venues but is not allowing people to see their dying relatives.

Though people are being stopped from seeing their dying loved ones, events such as the Ashes series between Australia and England have had packed crowds (pictured on January 6)

Though people are being stopped from seeing their dying loved ones, events such as the Ashes series between Australia and England have had packed crowds (pictured on January 6)

Even people who are fully vaccinated are being stopped from seeing dying family members in hospital (pictured, a woman getting a Covid-19 vaccination shot)

Even people who are fully vaccinated are being stopped from seeing dying family members in hospital (pictured, a woman getting a Covid-19 vaccination shot)

‘My father died with Covid so I understand it’s so important everyone be safe and there be some sort of restrictions in place but not letting people see their loved ones, it’s not right,’ she said.      

NSW health minister Brad Hazzard has asked for the regulations on visiting dying relatives to be reviewed.

Last week he was forced to apologise to a woman who was prevented from seeing her dying mother while paperwork was processed.

A woman called Gayle was made to leave her mother’s palliative care room at Campbelltown Hospital, despite pleas to stay beyond visiting hours.

A nurse reportedly threatened to call security if the triple-vaccinated woman didn’t leave.

When she got back the next morning to see her mother she was instead made to wait five hours in the hospital car park for her visiting exemption to be renewed.

NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet (pictured left), and Minister for Health Brad Hazzard (right) both apologised to the family of a woman who died alone while they waited for permission to see her

NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet (pictured left), and Minister for Health Brad Hazzard (right) both apologised to the family of a woman who died alone while they waited for permission to see her

Her husband, Peter, contacted 2GB and said Gayle’s mother had died by the time she was allowed into the hospital.

‘On Saturday evening we got a call from Brad Hazzard … he was apologetic. Then Dominic Perrottet called on Sunday,’ Peter said.

Mr Hazzard has told NSW Health new guidelines for hospitals should balance care and compassion with keeping patients and staff safe.    

Another person who missed the last moments of a loved one’s life is Kay Martin.

Her sister Judith Dally died at the Wolper Jewish Hospital in Woollahra on January 23, but Ms Martin was only allowed to visit for one hour a day, despite being fully vaccinated and testing negative to Covid.

An entrance to Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Sydney (pictured), where Antonio Coluccio died 'alone and scared', his daughter said

An entrance to Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Sydney (pictured), where Antonio Coluccio died ‘alone and scared’, his daughter said

‘I would love to have been with her when she passed,’ she told the Daily Telegraph. 

Ms Martin said the visitation rules should be scrapped given NSW’s high vaccination rate.

‘It’s appalling and really inhumane. People who are really ill would love to have their friends around and would just hold their hand and say “I love you”,’ she said.

Peter Collignon, a Professor of Infectious Diseases at ANU, has called for a new approach because of the declining case numbers.

‘If someone is in hospital dying and they have, say, a single visitor at a time, vaccinated and wearing a mask, their risk of giving Covid to anyone is very small and in my view we have to be willing to take that risk given the emotional and social impact of preventing people from seeing their loved one,’ he said. 

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