Medical counsel for captives ignored by Australian migration officials

Australia

An inquiry that is looking into the demise of Hamid Kehazaei, a refuge from Iran to Australia has been informed that immigration department regularly ignores medical advice from the doctors. This was even in the case of critical refugees who require immediate medical intervention. The officials do not let the offshore refugees to be moved to Australia.

The findings of the investigation have once again highlighted the hindrance created by bureaucracy for shifting the seriously unwell refugees from the detention center on Manus Island.

In the case of Kehazaei, his transfer was halted by a day when he was ill with the bacterial contamination. Later though the doctors suggested that he must be taken to Brisbane, he was moved to Port Moresby instead.

Kehazaei suffered three heart attacks in Port Moresby and was later transferred to Brisbane in an air ambulance. He was unconscious while he was transferred and he succumbed to the illness in a week.

A co-ordinator Doctor from the International SOS, Yliana Dennett informed the Queensland state coroner that Immigration and Border Protection department of Australia frequently rejected the advice of the doctors to transfer critical refugees to Australia. International SOS is the firm that has been assigned to facilitate sick refugees transfer from the detention centers at offshore.

She informed the investigation that the immigration department is hesitant to transfer patients to Australia. The advice to move serious patients to Australia has been regularly ignored by the department, she also added.

Dennett had advised in August 2014 that Kehazaei had to be transferred from Manus as he was not reciprocating to the antibiotic given to him. He was suffering from an infection that was getting worse and he was moved to Pacific international hospital at Port Moresby.

According to Dennett, though medical facilities in Port Moresby was little better than Manus, it was not the preferred choice. Only refugees from detention centers were transferred to Port Moresby and it was not utilized for any other patients.

The medical facilities in Port Moresby were not up to the mark, she informed the inquiry. The expertise of the doctors was not on par with the international standards or even in Australia.

It was quoted by the Guardian that the investigation that is being carried out by the counsel for the commonwealth was earlier informed that Pacific international hospital at Port Moresby was not hygienic. It had the inadequate number of staff and the existing nurses and doctors were not sufficiently trained.

Dennett said that she had advised that Kehazaei had to be moved to Port Moresby as it was known that the immigration department would reject the advice to transfer him to Australia.

She informed counsel for the commonwealth that earlier in several cases when they had recommended that the refugees be moved to Australia, the advice was rejected by the immigration department. In instances wherein the advice was accepted, it was delayed to a considerable extent.

Dennett also added that she was personally involved in several cases wherein patients suffered from critical heart illness or psychiatric conditions and the transfer was rejected by the department.

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