Woman sheds tears of relief after being granted spot after surgery
Authorities have reversed a decision to decline an emergency managed isolation (MIQ) space to a woman who just underwent major surgery in the United States.
Palmerston North woman Glenys Mahoney was declined a spot in MIQ twice after receiving life-changing mesh removal surgery overseas. The surgery was not available to her in New Zealand.
Friend and advocate Charlotte Korte said Mahoney was completely overwhelmed with relief after her third application was successful.
‘‘We were actually both in tears on the phone. It was such a relief. It just overcame Glenys because she had been fighting for so long, and finally she could come home.’’
MIQ joint head Megan Main said the team considered all the information provided and based its decision on whether it met the emergency allocation criteria.
Criteria for emergency applications included ‘‘a serious risk to health or safety ... for the applicant or their dependant, which requires urgent travel to New Zealand’’, the MIQ website says.
Mahoney, 54, flew to the US late last month for major surgery to remove surgical mesh on July 2. She hoped the procedure would finally free her from a life of chronic pain and disability.
A procedure to treat pelvic organ prolapse in 2006 with multiple mesh devices went badly wrong for the former radiographer.
She had since had 12 operations in New Zealand to correct the first surgery, but with little improvement. Her specialist supported her in seeking help from world mesh removal expert Dionysios Veronikis in St Louis, Missouri.
Mahoney spent three months unsuccessfully trying to get an MIQ voucher to fit with available surgery times and flights.
She said an MIQ staff member told her in late May or early June that she would qualify for an emergency MIQ spot and she should book her flights and surgery, then make the application afterwards.
Main said MIQ had checked the correspondence it had with Mahoney in March.
‘‘The contact centre advised her she could apply for an emergency allocation if there were no vouchers available, but did not make comment about her chances of success.’’
Late on July 14, Mahoney was forced to cancel her flights home from St Louis after being told her MIQ application had been declined. She had been due to leave the next morning.
She had already spent $70,000 on the trip and surgery, and had run out of funds.
Distraught, alone and with three open wounds, she was readmitted to hospital briefly in St Louis, before travelling to Atlanta, Georgia, to stay with her Us-based brother.
Mahoney learned yesterday that MIQ had granted her a spot under the emergency allocation, allowing her to rebook her flights home.
Korte said the experience had been extremely traumatic for Mahoney, and MIQ needed to change the way it responded to emergency applicants in desperate situations.
‘‘It’s taken a huge toll on her and nobody should have to go through this. ‘‘I mean, where is the compassion?’’ New Zealand had 350 MIQ spaces available each fortnight under the emergency allocation process.