Terminally ill eight-year-old left without drug lifeline
THE father of a Sunshine Coast girl says a crackdown on medical marijuana by South Australian authorities may ultimately cost his daughter her life.
After depending on marijuana oil to ease eight-year-old Suli's severe seizures, Steve Peek only has supplies to last a few days.
When that runs out, he fears Suli's seizures will return and she will have to be hospitalised.
"The hospital has said to me if we bring Suli into the hospital and she has uncontrolled seizures, and we can't stop her seizures, they will recommend that she has a large dose of morphine to stop the seizures," he said.
"She'll go into respiratory arrest and they would recommend for her not to be resuscitated."
For 18 months, Mr Peek has been treating terminally ill Suli with medicinal marijuana oil to reduce the 100-plus seizures she was having every day.
But a police raid on a South Australian supplier's home on Wednesday has cut off the family's supply and Suli's condition is expected to quickly deteriorate.
"We don't know what's going to happen now," Mr Peek said.
"Yesterday, we tried not to give her the midday dose to try and make it last longer, but by a quarter to six she was seizing again."
Suli has an undetermined regressive neurological disorder with refractory epilepsy, which means conventional medications cannot bring her seizures under control.
Those which do, give her bleeding stomach ulcers.
"We put Suli on cannabis oil because there were no options left," Mr Peek said.
"It saved her life."
Suli is not the only Coast person, or even the only child, reliant on medicinal marijuana.
At least four other families have been left without access to lifesaving oils, produced and supplied for free by Adelaide woman Jenny Hallam.
She is expected to face court next month for producing and distributing marijuana.
Sunshine Coast medicinal marijuana advocate Rebecca Bridson said the confiscation of Ms Hallam's medicines literally meant people's lives were in danger.
"(Wednesday's) events could absolutely turn out to be murderous," she said.
"There are people and children on the Sunshine Coast who if they miss one dose, they will pass away, it's that simple."
Tanya Rein, who was diagnosed with stage three breast cancer in August last year, is another Coast person hit hard by the loss of medicinal marijuana supplies and said she was at a loss to know what to do.
The mother-of-two said after multiple mastectomies and the prospect of more than five years of radiation and chemotherapy, she tried using cannabis oil and found her health improved.
"Most people who go through conventional therapy have the cancer return, it comes back with a vengeance, and I want to live, I want to live for my children," she said.
"I guess I'll just be keeping my fingers crossed and hope this cancer doesn't kill me."
Having followed all due process and consulted with countless medical professionals, Mr Peek still cannot administer the marijuana oil legally to Suli, which means even a trip to the hospital would be tantamount to a death sentence for her.
Buderim MP Steve Dickson yesterday called on Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to grant amnesty to families like Suli's.
"It gets down to life and death, and today a call has to be made to save a child's life," he said.
"We have to pull together and we have to make a difference and we have to save this young girl's life."
Ms Bridson repeated the call for amnesty, describing the state government's actions as "unethical".
"These parents have no choices left, they either break the law and save their child's life or they obey the law and bury their child.
"That's no choice."