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Family of man who fell off cruise ship hit out at healthcare system as they speak out on tragedy

Family of man who fell off cruise ship hit out at healthcare system as they speak out on tragedy

Warwick Tollemache fell overboard a cruise ship and into the Pacific Ocean

The family of a man who fell off a cruise ship last month said both public and private healthcare systems turned him away.

Last month, Warwick Tollemache fell overboard from the cruise ship Royal Caribbean Quantum of the Seas, as it sailed through the Pacific Ocean.

The ship was around 870 miles south of Hawaii when the 35-year-old went overboard, with search efforts being launched by air and sea in the hopes of finding him alive.

Tollemache had boarded the ship on 12 April for the voyage from Brisbane to Honolulu, with a visit to Tahiti scheduled along the way.

Warwick fell off the cruise ship on 26 April and the search for him was called off on 28 April, with the US coastguard saying they'd made the 'difficult decision' to stop searching for the Australian after discussing the matter with his family.

35-year-old Warwick Tollemache fell overboard a cruise ship last month, the search for his body has been called off.
Facebook/Celine LaRoche

Celina La Roche, Warwick's girlfriend of six years, said she was 'devastated' that they called off the search and thought it had ended too soon.

She said she won't be able to find closure until Warwick's body is found, while his family said they were 'heartbroken' to lose him.

Speaking to the Daily Mail Australia, Warwick's family slammed healthcare systems as they claimed that he sought treatment for migraines and was turned away.

They said he was in great pain from the migraines, and after being unable to secure treatment, he turned to alcohol until it took a toll on his mental health.

His family said he developed 'severe, chronic, and debilitating migraines that affected him daily', and that when he tried to access both public and private healthcare systems seeking help, he 'was repeatedly turned away and refused treatment or dignity'.

Princess Alexandra Hospital, Brisbane, where Tollemache's family say he repeatedly tried to seek medical help but was turned away.

They said that on 'countless occasions' he attempted to go to hospital seeking help - sometimes having to wait for 12 hours or more - and didn't always get to see a doctor at the end of it.

On the occasions when he was able to see a doctor, his family said Warwick was 'turned away' as they hit out at what they saw as a 'complete lack of humanity, respect, care, and compassion'.

They criticised Metro South Health, which is responsible for many Brisbane residents, claiming there was a 'dehumanising' culture of 'neglect and disregard for patients' dignity'.

The family said they will be 'seeking answers from Metro South Health' about their son.

A spokesperson for Metro South Health said: "Our health service offers condolences to the family for the loss of their loved one.

"Mental health conditions are complex and crises can stem from a number of triggers."

"Help is available for anyone having suicidal thoughts by calling Lifeline on 13 11 14 or patients of our service within the Metro South Health catchment have access to 1300 MH CALL."

Featured Image Credit: Facebook/@celine.laroche.5283/7News

Topics: Australia, News, Health