FADING: Bethany and Leanna Mills, with dad Nick Mills and Gizmo the cat, await their fate. Picture: Simone De PeakA CAMERON Park man has threatened to sue the federal government for $100million after he said it reneged on an agreement to pay for his daughters’ overseas medical treatment.
Nick Mills said the federal government had indicated in writing it would cover the cost of sending his daughters to France to get treatment for a rare form of primary dystonia until they were aged 18.
Leanna, 18, and Bethany, 16, are thought to be the only girls in the world with their particular symptoms.
Leanna’s condition has deteriorated and she now weighs 28 kilograms. Doctors fear she could go into organ failure.
Primary dystonia is a progressive and debilitating condition characterised by involuntary and painful contractions of the muscles – a cross between cerebral palsy and Parkinson’s.
Leanna is on a feeding tube and cannot use her body.
The girls went to France in 2005 for deep-brain stimulation, in which implanted electrodes send electric pulses to parts of the brain to allow muscles to work better.
The girls showed improvements. Leanna needed to go back for adjustments, but the government refused to pay then and has ever since.
Under the federal Health Department’s medical treatment overseas program, financial help is given to Australians with a life-threatening medical condition where effective treatment is not available in Australia.
The Health Department has told Mr Mills the operation can be done in Australia, for which he would be covered. But Mr Mills says specialists have told him Leanna should have it done in France.
Mr Mills said he had consulted a lawyer and wants to sue the government for breaching its contract and for his daughters’ ‘‘pain and suffering’’.
He said Leanna was confined to a hospital bed most of the time, and doctors are saying they can’t do anything more.
‘‘Beth is not too bad but she’s going downhill in the same way.’’
Mr Mills said he had sent letters to both major parties but had no response.