When their father was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer in January this year, brothers Marco and Ivan couldn't have imagined the cruel way they would be kept from seeing their dad in his last days.
Not allowed to visit regularly due to their vaccination status the brothers called the hospital to ask what it would take for unvaccinated family members to be able to visit their dying loved one.
After initially denying any visitation, The Olivia Newton-John Cancer and Wellness Centre at Melbourne's Austin hospital eventually informed the family that the best they could do was give them a one-off visit, separately and they had to wear full PPE and only for one-hour maximum.
"Obviously when your father is very close to passing, he wants to see you and we want to see him and for them to, at first, refuse us and once they gave us an exemption for an hour in a one-off visit for his entire stay ... That's unbelievably cruel to us and to dad," said Marco.
On the Victorian government's Coronavirus website it states that 'Hospital visitors must have had at least two doses of the vaccine or show evidence of a negative result from a rapid antigen test taken on the day of the visit.'
Despite the state government's official guidelines ruling that showing evidence of a negative RAT test on the day of a visit is sufficient protocol to allow visitors into wards, hospital policies cruelly excluded the brothers from spending time with their dying father in his final days with them.
Other members of the family who met the 'fully vaccinated' requirement were regularly allowed to visit without having to take a RAT test despite still being capable of catching and spreading Covid-19.
When they asked the hospital what the justification for the rule was, they were informed that it was simply 'hospital policy with the Covid situation'.
When the brothers pleaded with the centre to be able to visit their terminally ill father, offering to take as many tests as required to alleviate hospital concerns, they were informed that rules were rules and their policy was in place to 'limit risk to both patients and staff'.
The centre claims on its website that it 'We work with you to meet your emotional, spiritual and practical needs in a holistic way. Our support is also extended to your family and carers.'
"I don't know how people can be so cruel to others and just be so heartless ... Look, it's tough to understand," said Marco.
Olivia Newton-John's daughter Chloe Lattanzi was so shocked by the treatment of the grieving family by the medical establishment bearing her mother's name she recorded a special video message to show her support.
"I heard your story and my heart absolutely broke ... For you, your family and your father, that you missed out on your last precious moments with him and that he missed out on those last precious moments with you," she said.
Rebel News approached the hospital for comment but did not hear back by publication deadline.
Marco and Ivan's father passed away last weekend.