A Melbourne woman is praying for a last resort to farewell her father in Adelaide.
Mary Kalantzis’ father Michael Katsabas died at Queen Elizabeth Hospital last week after a long illness and is being laid to rest on Wednesday.
She says she tried in vain to obtain compassionate leave from SA health authorities to travel there as soon as her father took a turn in hospital last Tuesday but was repeatedly rejected.
A week later, she has finally been approved to travel there but says it’s now too late.
“It’s been a week now since my father passed away. He’s sitting in a morgue, and yesterday I got a letter from SA Health stating if I want to come, I have to go to a hotel and stay for 14 days and quarantine,” she said.
“Would you allow your father to stay in a morgue for three weeks?
“I just couldn’t do it to my mother.”
Ms Kalantzis, who is originally from South Australia and runs a business there, said if she was approved for travel when her father took a turn for the worst, she could have flown there and undertaken the mandatory 14-day quarantine.
“I begged them and begged them,” she said.
“I asked them for a compassionate letter because they said to me he wasn’t looking good.
“The doctors wouldn’t get back to me, I kept repeatedly calling.
“Eventually, that afternoon he sadly passed away.
“If they said yes to me on that Tuesday, I would’ve quarantined for two weeks from Tuesday and my dad would only be in the morgue for two weeks.”
She has written to the SA Health Minister, Premier and Prime Minister to help her plight.
She is pinning hopes on a flight on Wednesday afternoon that will enable her to attend the service alongside her mother and two sisters.
“I just want to attend my dad’s funeral, it’s all I’m asking for. I’m praying for a last resort.”
SA Health would not comment on individual cases.
Under new laws that came in on Friday, Victorians can be granted exemptions to enter SA for end-of-life visits on compassionate grounds if the predicted life expectancy of the family member is less than two weeks.
Exemptions for funeral travel are considered on a case-by-case basis in “very exceptional circumstances”.
If approved, 14 days quarantine is required on arrival before attending the funeral.