UPDATE 5/28/19: Christine Hyde, her husband Anthony and their son Darragh will be forced to leave Australia, where Darragh was born. They have been given just 28 days from Tuesday to leave their home of ten years because their son is considered a “burden” to the Australian health care system.
“We’re drained,” Hyde an assistant principal told Yahoo News Australia. “We’ve got a lease, we’ve got animals and jobs. Twenty-eight days is just… I don’t even know what we can do with that. It’s awful.”
Hyde and her husband immigrated from Ireland to Australia ten years ago. Darragh is three and has cystic fibrosis and is lucky enough to have been approved for one of the “miracle meds” for the condition, but it comes with a heavy price tag of $300,000 a year. Australia’s pharmaceutical benefits scheme allows the family to pay just $40 a month for it.
“Being on that drug for Darragh is almost reversing the impact of CF for him,” said Hyde. “It means he will go on to live a normal life. I get that’s why it’s expensive. But I also think we do a fair job of giving back.”
The family is now appealing to Immigration Minister David Coleman for an intervention. If that intervention does not happen, they will have to leave Australia by June 18.
4/20/19: An Irish couple living in Australia for nearly a decade is now facing deportation because their three-year-old son, who was born in Australia, was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis (CF), a chronic and life-threatening genetic condition.
Christine Hyde and her husband Anthony were welcomed to Australia because Hyde has a Master’s degree in special education, and works an assistant principal at a local primary school. After applying for residency in Australia in 2015, they had to undergo medical testing. It was during this same time that their son, Darragh, was born. Soon afterwards, he was diagnosed with CF. Darragh’s diagnosis occurred the same week the family’s doctor had to send a letter to the department about his health. Their application for residency was rejected by the Department of Home Affairs because Darragh was deemed a “health burden,” according to News 9. Hyde said that just the difference of a week could have meant they were approved to stay.
“We were so stupid, we didn’t even think this was going to be a problem,” Hyde told News 9. “We were naïve about the whole thing.”
The Department of Home Affairs said that because people with CF often need a lung transplant at some point in their lives, the Hydes are no longer welcome in Australia. The Hydes are appealing the decision, because their son has been taking a new medication for CF called Kalydeco that is helping certain people with the condition live longer and healthier lives. His doctors say it is unlikely that he will ever need a lung transplant. But since the medication is paid for by the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, the country still sees Darragh as a burden to taxpayers.
“It is an objective assessment to determine whether the care of the individual during their stay in Australia would likely result in significant costs to the Australian community or prejudice the access of Australian citizens and permanent residents to services in short supply,” said a statement from the Department.
The family will appeal the rejection during an Administrative Review Tribunal on April 30. While the tribunal doesn’t have the power to overturn the decision, the couple is hoping that it will ask Immigration Minister David Coleman to intervene on their behalf. In the meantime, they have started an online petition in an attempt to save themselves from deportation.
The Department of Home Affairs told News 9 that visa applicants must meet the migration health requirements. Australia isn’t the only country with government (taxpayer) funded health care to turn a family away. Last month, a family announced that New Zealand had denied them entry because their daughter has Down syndrome despite the fact that a New Zealand company had recruited them to come to the country.
“This is it for us,” said Hyde. “The minister is the only person who can help. We don’t want to go back to Ireland. There is nothing there for us. We just want to be here, this is our home and for that to be taken away because our son has a medical condition, which was unknown, it’s just heartbreaking. It’s not his fault.”
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