A heartbroken family has issued a desperate plea to be allowed to see their son, who is in ICU at a Melbourne hospital.
Ben Stylo, 28, was rushed by ambulance to The Alfred Hospital ten days ago suffering from septic shock, his mother Rose Cassar told nine.com.au.
Mr Stylo has an extremely rare autoimmune condition called chronic granulomatous disease, with only five known cases in the world.
In January, Mr Stylo contracted a fungal infection in his liver, spleen and stomach lining which he was unable to fight off because of his weakened immune system.
Doctors believe an infection then spread into his bloodstream.
READ MORE: Victoria records its deadliest day with 19 deaths, 322 COVID-19 cases
Although Ms Cassar was able to ride in the ambulance with her son, she said as soon as she entered the hospital she was separated from him due to its coronavirus restrictions on visitors.
"As soon as I got to the hospital, I didn't even have a chance to give him a hug or a kiss, they ushered him away and said you can't be with him," she said.
Doctors pumped Mr Stylo full of antibiotics but his condition deteriorated the next day and he was placed on life support.
"I got a phone call saying he had deteriorated, and they had put him in ICU. I begged and pleaded, please let me come and see him," she said.
"They said no. Then an hour-and-a-half later I got the call saying you are allowed to see him, special circumstances, he only has hours left to live."
Mr Stylo thankfully pulled through. He was taken off life support and his condition stabilised before his mother was able to see him.
A scheduled video call was arranged for Mr Stylo to speak to his family but his condition deteriorated again and he was put back on life support.
Ms Cassar said her son's condition had improved in recent days, but they were all acutely aware of how fragile it was and wanted desperately to see him.
"We are staying hopeful, but we know that Ben's condition is very fragile," she said.
"He may relapse into septic shock again. We have a window now to see him and we want that window; we want to see him.
"We think every family should have the right to see their family members in ICU and it's been 10 days now.
"It's inhumane. I'm literally going mad, I'm losing my mind over this trying to think of ways to get in there to see him."
Ms Cassar said she understood the need for the hospital's strict rules on visitors during the pandemic, but said there needed to be a way for families to see their loved ones in ICU.
Ms Cassar said she was willing to undergo coronavirus testing and wear full PPE gear if she was able to see her son.
Mr Stylo's father Donald Borg said all the family was asking for was for one person, Ms Cassar, to be able to see their son.
"He is good hands in ICU, great hands, but there is no one in this world that knows Ben's condition and also his state of mind like his mother," he said.
"Ben needs his mother's support.
"We can hear it in his voice that he is losing hope. He is so isolated and doesn't feel like he has any contact with the family.
"Just for Rose to be able to see him would help massively."
The family has written to Premier Daniel Andrews and Health Minister Jenny Mikakos asking them to change the rules around visitors to ICU wards.
"The health minister's department contacted me and said they were going to contact the ICU team. But the ICU team tell us that they are guided by the regulations for the health department so we keep going around and around in circles," Ms Cassar said.
A spokesperson for Alfred Health said: "We understand what a challenging time this is for families wishing to visit a loved one in hospital.
"The visitor restrictions at The Alfred, which are common to many Victorian hospitals right now, are there to protect our vulnerable patients and our staff while there is a sustained level of COVID-19 in the community.
"As visitors are only permitted under special circumstances, our staff are working hard to maintain the connection between patients and loved ones. Daily briefings and telehealth sessions also ensure families up-to-date and involved in care decisions.
"These changes are about keeping our hospitals as safe as we can, as we work through this pandemic together."
Mr Stylo's family have started an online petition calling on visiting rules to be changed for ICU patients in Victoria.
Contact reporter Emily McPherson at email@example.com.
Source: 9News https://www.9news.com.au/national/coronavirus-victoria-hospital-visiting-rules-melbourne-family-beg-to-see-son-in-icu/52a2f7b6-b8dc-4104-bd86-b6acf658c737